T h e · C a s e

“Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate and sober self-esteem.” – Saul Steinberg

Photo courtesy of FC Associates

It is time to bring the Washington Grays back to Washington!

Baseball is the national pastime of America. This is not simply because it has been America’s most popular sport, but because of baseball’s unique tie to American history and culture. America and baseball were shaped at the same moment. The creation and popular growth of baseball happened during the forging of the United States in the Civil War. The sacrifice and strength of “the greatest generation” is highlighted in the numerous baseball players who served during WWII instead of playing the game of baseball. At the same time, Roosevelt’s “green light” letter to baseball showed baseball’s importance on the home front. Since the 1970’s, baseball’s labor/management struggles have closely mirrored some of the same struggles in the rest of America’s work force. Most recently, the shock of 9/11 was expressed dramatically in the silence of baseball bats, and the nation’s first tentative steps to move forward were taken with determination on a baseball diamond.

By far, the most dramatic expression of this unity of baseball and America’s history is in race relations and the long struggle for integration. Jackie Robinson and his heroic struggle against discrimination is an American story worth retelling. So are the stories of countless heroes who helped to pave the way for him. Their struggles often go unremembered, their stories untold. However, their contribution is no less important. The Washington Homestead Grays, D.C.’s Negro National League powerhouse, is an example of one of these untold stories.

The potential of a new Major League Baseball team in the nation’s capital gives Washington a unique opportunity to honor the legacy of these heroes and demonstrate proper respect for the quality of Negro League Baseball. It is time to bring the Washington Grays back to Washington!

It is time to honor this legacy and pass it forward to future generations. Naming a new baseball team the Washington Grays will create a living memorial in our nation’s capital to do this. Honoring and remembering this important history is the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do, by political, marketing and Karmic standards.

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