Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Civil Rights Game

As an Astros hater, I sure picked a good night to go to the ballpark.

“I haven’t heard this place this loud in a long time,” said Robbie Grossman, who had the game-tying hit in the seventh inning, right before Jonathan Villar’s go-ahead double bounced into the home bullpen at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros haven’t had a win streak this long since July 27-Aug. 3, 2010, which shouldn’t come as a shock. Since May 11, they’re tied for the second-most wins across the majors, and their 15 wins this month are their most in May since tallying 17 in 2008.

The Astros didn’t even have a hit off Orioles starter and losing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez until the sixth inning, and nonetheless pulled it out.

And that was just the baseball.

l to r: George Foreman, Berry Gordy, James Brown.

Missing from this year's Beacon honorees was Dr. Maya Angelou, who passed just Wednesday.  She did record a video, shown on the stadium's big board, thanking Major League Baseball for the honor.  Her words ring so clearly in a week when Houston approved a non-discrimination ordinance, and in the 50th anniversary year of the 1964 Civl Rights Act, and the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision desegregating public schools, Brown v. Board of Education.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. There are people who go through life burdened by ignorance because they refuse to see. When they do not recognize the truth that they belong to their community and their community belongs to them, it is because they refuse to see. When they do not accept their oneness with their fellow man and fellow woman, it is because they refuse to see. When they choose to live sheltered in their own personal universes, oblivious to the plights that face our brothers and sisters and their brothers and sisters, it is because they refuse to see to see what is in front of them.

“We have been through trying times. We have borne witness to many who felt that the establishment of superiority outweighed the need for human compassion, and yet somehow we have persevered. We have stood firm in the face of outrage. We have held tight to our dignity against a sea of strife. We have adhered to our convictions and our beliefs and the equality of all people. And all the truths we hold to be self evident have persevered. And it is to our great joy that we can say we have persevered.

“Our world today is in many ways better than it was 50 years ago and perhaps not as good as it will be 50 years from now. I pray that we will grow. But we must never lose sight of what is truly important. We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. In fact, it might be necessary to encounter the defeats so we can know just who we are."

Truly, to live one's life by those words is the real honor.

There was an awards luncheon, there was a roundtable discussion, there was baseball where the players wore throwback unis from the Negro Leagues.  Hell, even the local TV blackout was lifted (so I hope you watched it if you weren't there, because you know they'll be looking at the ratings).  The only damper on the evening was the rain, which canceled the postgame fireworks show.

If I never go to another game, I can be happy.

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