Let me be forthright in my sentiments regarding not only the Boston Red Sox but also everything associated with that organization, “I hate everything about them.”
In fact, the opportunity to intensify my hatred for Red Sox Nation is one of the most significant benefits of being a New York Yankees fan. If you are wondering where my hatred of Red Sox nation emanates from, consider the following.
- They were the last team in baseball to desegregate.
- Their long-time owner Thomas Yawkey was an ardent racist.
- The street bearing Yawkey’s name remains outside of Fenway Park.
- The city of Boston was the last major U.S. city to desegregate its schools.
- Many residents of Boston consider racial bias, racial hatred, prejudice, discrimination, and institutional racism its grandest traditions.
- Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was repeatedly called the “N-Word” while playing in Fenway Park this year.
- Many MLB superstars have demanded a no-trade clause to the Red Sox as they wish to avoid such virulent racism from its fanbase and city residents.
It is this realization that makes me applaud the protestors who were able to infiltrate last night’s Red Sox game, a game that the Red Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics (7 – 3) I gleefully add, and unfurled a banner over the vaunted “Green Monster” in Left Field that offered an unmistakable truth in the city that the American Revolution began. The banner read “Racism is as American as Baseball.” From my perspective, there was no grander place for this message to be displayed than Fenway Park.
Although the banner offered a relatively simple message, it provided a snap shot of what most reasonable minded Americans recognize as a historically supportable truth. By the time the Founding Father’s who refused to “be the slaves of Britain” declared their Independence from the Crown, it was evident that this nation had nurtured a rapidly developing system of racial discrimination that benefited them in unconscionable ways. Make no mistake about it, even the British realized that the exponentially increasing strength of this rag-tag bunch of farmers who dared to stand toe-to-toe with a professional army was due to force and power flowing from chattel slavery; there is no better explanation for why the initial step that the British took toward quelling the pending revolution was the outlawing of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
So the assertion that “Racism is as American as Baseball” is historically verifiable from many angles. In fact, the sport that is commonly termed America’s favorite pastime was a bastion of institutional racism in and of itself as it refused admittance to Negro League players. Often missed in celebrations of Jackie Robinson’s token integration of “Major League Baseball” is the fact that to this moment there are no black owners of an MLB team; before you holler that is untrue, let me tell you that I am well aware of famed Yankee Derek Jeter’s inclusion in the group that purchased the Miami Marlins. Reasonable minded people view the integration of the Major League’s without the addition of a single black owner from the Negro League ranks to be a hostile takeover and raiding of black ballclubs for talent, not any form of power sharing that real integration would lead to as with the merging of the NBA and ABA.
Hence, I think that it is was incredibly appropriate for Boston’s Fenway Park to be the location that the message of “Racism is as American as Baseball” to be shared for the world to see. There is truth in the statement, after all.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017