Baseball Isn’t As Simple As Black And White

1816 words - 8 pages

Baseball isn’t as simple as Black and White
Baseball, “America’s pastime”, the most simple sport of the big 4, a sport where failing 7 times out of 10 will still land you among the greats of all time. Baseball has been played by all ages since the Mid-18th Century. It is a sport where 9 men have at least 27 chances to score more runs than the other 9 men. So simple, but yet so captivating. This simplicity, one would assume, would lead to an almost utopian atmosphere. But, for Troy Maxon, an ex-baseball player, the game of Baseball is anything but a utopia. You see, before Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, there were no African-American baseball players. So, African-Americans were relegated to the Negro Leagues to play baseball. The Negro Leagues produced a fair amount of Baseball legends such as Satchel Paige and Ernie Banks. But, the Negro Leagues were seen as much lower talent-wise than the Major Leagues, where all the white people played. So, because of this, some African-Americans, who may or may not have been much better than some of the white players in the Major Leagues, never got a chance to play at the highest level because of their race. This, in and out of itself, caused a lot of hatred and warped views for some of the African-Americans, especially Troy Maxon. Thus, In August Wilson’s Fences, Troy uses references to baseball as a justification for his shortcomings.
Troy’s use of baseball references suggest his warped view of social justice because of his ego. Troy himself is an ex-baseball player. He played in the Negro Leagues before he was thrown in jail and aged past what people would consider to be “baseball age”. Troy was already 40+ years old when he was released from jail, an age that most people consider to be too old for a man to be playing baseball unless he is a superstar like Mariano Rivera was for the New York Yankees up until this past year when he retired at the age of 44 after a 19 year career with the Yankees. Rivera is the exception to the age rule because he is definitely one of the best to ever play baseball. In Troy’s case, we have no idea how good Troy actually was at baseball, even though he provides the reader with statistics that may or may not be skewed. However, in a time where whites predominantly occupied spaces on professional baseball teams while African-Americans were relegated to the Negro Leagues, Troy feels that the whites who play for these professional teams are there simply because they are white and not because they are any good at baseball. Troy focuses on George Selkirk, the starting right fielder for the New York Yankees. Troy believes that Selkirk is simply just there in place of a better, more capable African-American player, “Selkirk!... Man batting .269, understand? .269. … I was hitting .432 with thirty-seven home runs! Man batting .269 and playing right field for the Yankees. I saw Josh Gibson’s daughter yesterday. She walking around with raggedy shoes on her feet....

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