Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Down in D.C.
by alex ciepley
I was given a reprieve from self-pity this weekend with a trip to the Baseball As America exhibit down in D.C. It was the last weekend of the exhibit at the Museum of Natural History there, so a pride of us baseball groupies--including Jay Jaffe, Cliff Corcoran, and Steven Goldman--all went down to crash with Chris Kahrl and check out the exhibit.
There was a decent amount of Cub memories to be seen at the museum. Sandberg's glove was in a display of the evolution of equipment (There was no explanation why Sandberg was chosen for the display, any ideas?), a chair from Wrigley was against one wall, and Harry Caray belted "Take Me Out" over the loudspeaker in the section about the fans. I thought the coolest thing there, though, was a letter from (then-Senator) John F. Kennedy to Jackie Robinson. It's apparently a continuation of an earlier discussion between the two on the topic of racial discrimination. Kennedy pitches his beliefs to Robinson again, and adds a touch humor:
I have said this on many occasions in the past and will of course continue to say it. I have called for an end to all discrimination -- in voting, in education, in housing, in employment, in the administration of justice, and in public facilities including lunch counters. I have also spoken in favor of the right of peaceful protest, saying that the recent demonstrations have been in the American tradition of people standing up for their rights, even if the new way of standing up for one's rights is to sit down.
Other highlights at the exhibit included a display of bats fashioned after those several famous hitters used -- Rod Carew's handle was thinner than a nickel, one of us observed -- and one of the famed Honus Wagner tobacco cards. The real fun stuff on the trip, though, was the time spent with my travel mates. Baseball was the hot topic, but it wasn't the only topic. All of the talented writers I got to spend the weekend with aren't just talented baseball writers; they're talented thinkers and engaging people to be around.
I was consoled on Friday night for being foolish enough to be devoted to the Cubs, though condolences quickly turned to Kahrl (an A's fan) as the weekend went on. At least Jay, Cliff, and Steven, fans of the Yankees (and Jay of the Dodgers), have their teams still in it.
I figure we've got 4 months or so to lament what went wrong and propose ways to fix the ship, and I'm sure I'll jump right into that discussion soon enough. Until then, though, I'll be back in a bit with a guide to my rooting interests in the upcoming playoffs.