As I start writing this on the night of March 14, I am disappointed that I have been deprived of the opportunity to watch baseball history being made because of "technical difficulties." For once, the gremlins are not mine but those of a television feed fro China to the U.S.
It's only a pre-season exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres but it is being played in . . . Beijing. This is the first professional game ever played in China! And it was supposed to be aired at 10:00 p.m. PDT here in Los Angeles. But, alas, it is not being broadcast as promised. As it turns out, the game ended in a 3-3 tie and an account of it can be found here on MLB.com.
But this game has gotten me thinking about the changes in professional baseball in The Ancient One's lifetime. When I was born 7 decades ago, the Major Leagues had a total of 16 teams and all the players were white. Ten years later in 1948 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he was brought up to the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Sixty years later, the Major Leagues have players from around the world. There are players from Aruba, Australia, Canada, Columbia, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela. At the start of the 2007 season, 29% of all players on Major League rosters were born outside of the U.S.
As the new season approaches, Alicia and Seth are treating Donna and me to a special day. On March 29, we will be in the monstrous crowd watching the Dodgers play the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum where the Dodgers played when they moved here from Brooklyn (in 1955) and stayed until Dodger Stadium opened in 1957. What is most amazing about this nostalgic baseball setting is that over 90,000 tickets have been sold for this EXHIBITION GAME. And they are trying to find a way to add more seats to meet the demand for tickets.
And then the 2008 season will get under way for real. Go Dodgers! And, remembering my roots, Go Tigers!