Today is Jackie Robinson Day, so don't worry when you see all the players out there wearing the number 42. It's been nearly 70 years since Robinson became the first African American to be rostered in the major leagues, and it's been a full decade since MLB began honoring him on this date every year. Mark Sheldon over at Reds.com caught up with several Reds to get their insight on what the day meant to them.
Jackie Robinson Day is a special day around the league, treated as time to step back and acknowledge just how big of an impact Robinson had not only on baseball, but American culture altogether. But we also have to be careful that, in all of the celebration, we don't forget the work and the progress that is yet to be made; with diversity in baseball and, more importantly, in regards to race relations in this country. William Rhoden of the New York Times argues that MLB has yet to deliver the greatest tribute to Jackie Robinson.
It's an interesting read. Baseball makes efforts to expand their community outreach and they operate several urban youth leagues, but the fact remains that an average Opening Day 25-man roster is still only around 8% African American, and the diversity among team management is even more abysmal than that.
When you keep in mind that we're celebrating this day less than a year after the Orioles and White Sox had to play an entire baseball game in an empty stadium due to racial unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, and it's easy to see that we're not exactly living in a post-racial society. There is still a lot of work to be done. And amidst all of the glad-handing and back-slapping that will go on today ("Look how far we've come."), it's important to remember to keep moving forward. Keep getting better.
That's the real way to honor Jackie Robinson and his legacy.
The Reds will kick off a three game weekend series with the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals tonight at Busch Stadium, and as FoxSports.com's Alan Ferguson points out, not everyone in the stadium will be rooting for the beloved Red Birds. Friday night Reds starting pitcher Tim Melville is from nearby Wentzville, Missouri.
"I have a lot of friends that are Cardinals fans hitting me up for tickets," Melville told MLB's official website. "They're telling me, 'This is going to be the one time I might root against the Cardinals.' I told them, 'I won't tell anybody, don't worry.'
Welp, way to let that cat out of the bag, Tim.
I'm not looking forward to the beat down that the Cardinals could potentially hand to Melville, making only his second major league start, but it's pretty cool that he's getting to take the mound in front of friends and family. Considering that Jon Moscot is presumably ready to go and start on Sunday, this may be the last chance Melville gets.
Remember earlier this week when Wick told you how Brandon Finnegan was developing his change-up? Well, Fangraphs Jeff Sullivan is on the same page, and as he notes, Finnegan is really beginning to take shape as a starter. Since you've already read Wick's take (and clicked all of the links, of course), not much in Sullivan's piece will surprise you. But, it does have charts and graphs, which are totally rad.
Finally, I want to point out this FiveThirtyEight article about launch angles and batted ball velocity and how it can help us better understand the game. I find it fascinating (I'm kind of obsessed with batted ball velo, currently), and, if you didn't already know, this information is actually included if you follow along with games on MLB Gameday. Just click the section marked "Feed," and away you go.