With “42″ hitting theaters today, I decided to publish a Jackie Robinson-themed Daily Distractions today. These ought to tide us over as we wait to find out how much time Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke will miss.
Tomorrow is Jackie Robinson Day in Los Angeles.
Monday is the actual 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, when every player on every team will wear Robinson’s retired 42 on his back.
The list of local Robinson-related events this weekend is so long, the Dodgers issued a 1,338-word press release today to list them all. Here are the highlights:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame won’t induct any new members this year, but its annual Awards Presentation will have a Dodgers theme.
On July 27 in Cooperstown, the Museum will pay tribute to Legendary Pictures founder and CEO Thomas Tull and his soon-to-be-released film “42”, which documents and pays homage to Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson. The film will be released nationwide on Friday, April 12, just in advance of baseball’s Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.
The Museum will also recognize former Dodgers team physician Frank Jobe for the development of Tommy John surgery, a now-common elbow ligament replacement procedure. John, the former Dodgers pitcher who won 288 games in his 26-year major league career, will join Dr. Jobe for the special recognition.
I attended a special screening of “42″ last week and it seemed to be well-received by both the media and the Dodgers players and execs in attendance. I’m guessing it won’t be seen as a flop three months after its release.
Some bullet points for a Friday morning:
That photo won’t make the Bad Spring Training TwitPics hall of shame, but that’s only because I didn’t post it on Twitter. It was the sight greeting everyone at Camelback Ranch on the first day of spring training Tuesday morning.
Tuesday was an inherently eventful day, typically droll as spring training days go but more exciting than the last four and a half months of no baseball. I posted the blow-by-blow on my Twitter account, which you can follow here if you’re not doing so already. The question of what the Dodgers will do with their eight starting pitchers dominated the dialogue. You can read all about that here.
Today marks the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. Manager Don Mattingly was in rare form, using humor to deflect questions about his expiring contract. Comparing himself to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of former Oakland manger Art Howe on a one-year contract with the Moneyball A’s, he told reporters at Camelback Ranch, “I’m built better than that guy.”
H/T to Hardball Talk for this one:
Colleague Brian Charles dug up the background story on Jackie Robinson’s “Google doodle” yesterday, and it’s an interesting one.
Turns out that Robinson, who was born 94 years ago yesterday, inspires the tech sector, too.
“By celebrating Jackie today, we’re hoping to spread his message of respecting each other as a human beings,” Mike Dutton, the artist who created the image, told Charles in an email Thursday. “Nobody else has changed the game quite as significantly — and with the same kind of poise and dignity in the face of adversity, no less — as Jackie Robinson.”
One more nugget from that story: John Singleton, the filmmaker and Pasadena City College graduate behind the forthcoming Robinson biopic “42″, has been approached by PCC about having an advanced screening of the movie in Pasadena.
Some casual links for a casual Friday:
What has three heads, six blue stirrups and always smiles?
Find out for yourself on April 15, when the Dodgers give away a Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella statue to the first 40,000 fans at that night’s game against the San Diego Padres. April 15, always a big day at Dodger Stadium, marks the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier.
It’s also a 2-star game under the Dodgers’ new tiered pricing plan. There are no bobblehead giveaways on 2- or 1-star games this season, so this might be as close as it gets.
We’ll be writing a lot about Robinson this year. The 66th anniversary of his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers is April 15. Three days earlier is the planned release date of “42,” the biopic starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. You can view the trailer here.
In light of this week’s news about a Miami-based PED lab that claimed several major-leaguers as clients, I’ll take this space to point out that Robinson was neither a drinker nor a smoker – let alone a juicer.
An often-overlooked local landmark is the plaque commemorating Robinson’s boyhood home at 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena. (There’s no home there now, just a plaque, as the home was torn down in the early 1970s.) Feel free to leave a present there today. Or a doodle.
Lots of links today:
The United States roster for the World Baseball Classic was announced today. Have a look:
Obviously there are no Dodgers on the roster, but that could change. Think of this roster as a rough draft; teams must submit their final roster on Feb. 20, and all non-WBC players must report to spring training by then.
“Rough” is also a good way of describing the United States’ preliminary starting rotation. Beyond veterans R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong, who were both excellent in 2012 (and rarely so before 2010), Team USA would have to roll out Derek Holland and Kris Medlen if the tournament started today. Fortunately it doesn’t start today. It starts with three games in three days March 8, 9 and 10 – and possibly a fourth game on March 12 if they can place first or second in a four-team pool that includes Canada, Mexico and Italy. Can Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke sneak in one start? What about Justin Verlander, David Price, Jered Weaver or Matt Cain? Seems like the star power is falling short.
Some links, *some* of which actually relate to baseball …
The historical significance of Magic Johnson’s latest feat was lost on a few Dodgers, but not Jerry Hairston Jr.
To Hairston, whose grandfather Sam became the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox in 1951, it’s special to play for the league’s first black (part-)owner in Johnson.
“I think Jackie Robinson would be very proud today,” Hairston said.
A self-described “history buff” –as well as a third-generation major-leaguer — Hairston sees the civil rights movement through a unique lens.