Milwaukee Middle School Students Treated to Screening of “42,” Visit From Commissioner Selig and Sharon Robinson
Today, I was fortunate enough to join a group of over 150 students from Roosevelt Middle School in Milwaukee at the Marcus North Shore Cinema. We enjoyed to a private screening of the movie “42” hosted by Commissioner Bud Selig, Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson and the Milwaukee Brewers. As if seeing the movie by itself wasn’t enough of a treat, the students also participated in a Q&A session with Selig and Robinson after the movie.
It was the first time I saw the movie and I thought it was great. Cait reviewed the movie last week and I urge you to read her review, see the movie and read what Robinson and Selig had to say today. Seeing the movie and then hearing Selig and Robinson talk about the deeper teachings of the story and the legacy of Jackie Robinson made the experience extremely memorable.
Robinson and Selig touched on a variety of topics including the state of diversity in the game of baseball today, the movie “42” itself, the legacy Jackie Robinson left us and the importance of middle school years as it relates to the rest of education.
“The movie covers years 1946 and 1947 so you really don’t see him (Jackie) growing up, or the role his mother played in his life,” Sharon Robinson said. “My father was very religious and that was a big source of strength for him. He was a praying man. In the trailer, you see Jackie Robinson coming from the back and he takes a step back. Some people interpreted that as a hesitation, that he was taking a step back, that he has this big moment and is stepping back. In the movie, it is shot from the front and you see him praying. He is stepping back and saying his prayer before he goes on the field.”
There have been other movies made and stories told about the life of Jackie Robinson, but Sharon said “42” captures the story of her father better than any other.
“I saw the film that was made in 1950, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” and I always hated that movie. I liked seeing my
father, but I didn’t like how he was portrayed. I met with the producers of “42,” I wanted to make sure that image of my father was kind of erased.
My favorite (version of Jackie Robinson’s story) is “42” because what you see are relationships. You see the strength of the relationship between Jackie and Rachel, critical to his success. You see the relationship between Jackie and Branch, also critical to his success. You see the relationship between the boy and his father (at the game in Cincinnati). That showed us you can have a loving parent, but unfortunately, they can teach you to hate or you can be around friends of yours who you trust and they can get you in trouble if you follow them at the wrong moment.”
Sharon herself is an author and has written a number of books on her father and her family life that expands on the story the movie gave.
“My book, “Jackie Robinson American Hero” allows everyone to get a little more to the story about his childhood and his years after baseball and about his family and about the Jackie Robinson Foundation. You have two hours in a film and I think they did a great job of keeping the film intense, moving quickly and covering a very important period of his life.”
Each student today received a copy of “Jackie Robinson American Hero.”
Selig has taken many steps in his tenure as Commissioner to keep the legacy and dreams of Jackie Robinson alive. From having players honor Robinson by wearing his #42 on April 15 each year, to retiring #42 in every MLB stadium, to working on diversifying the game on and off the field to establishing programs like the R.B.I. program—Selig wants to be sure the legacy of Robinson is never forgotten in baseball. When asked what Jackie Robinson would think about diversity in the game today, he said steps have been made in the right direction, but we can do better.
“Jackie said in Cincinnati at the World Series just ten days before he passed away that he wanted to look over to the third base dugout and see an African-American manager and he can do that today. We have done well, but we can do better and that is what I think he would say. Given where we were 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago, we are in a better place, but we need to do better. We are working on a lot of things. It’s an ongoing problem, but I’m proud of baseball. I regard baseball as a social institution and just the fact that baseball could produce what this movie produced makes me proud. There is work to be done and we will do it.”
Selig also said how Robinson was not only important to just the history of baseball, he was important to the history of our country.
“I read a quote today from Dr. Martin Luther King that he said in 1962 he couldn’t have done what he did for the Civil Rights movement without Jackie Robinson. That tells you how important in history that Jackie Robinson really is,” said Selig.
In the movie, we saw Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey make the difficult decision to sign Jackie Robinson. He knew the decision wouldn’t be popular with everyone, but he knew it was the right decision. As commissioner, Selig has also been in position to make difficult decisions, but likes to use Rickey’s way of thinking as an example.
“Branch Rickey was so heroic in all of this. He did this on his own and because it was right. I happened to be in Chicago when Jackie played his first game at Wrigley Field and I will never forget it, it was a really moving experience. When you are in a position of responsibility, I always feel that I have to do what is in the best interest of baseball. It might be unpopular, it might make others mad, but if you know you are doing the right thing, you do it. That is what Branch Rickey did and he set a great example. That is the example I hope I set for future generations. You have got to do what you think is right and if it isn’t popular, so be it. Just go do it.”
The students listened attentively to the post-movie discussion and Sharon Robinson left the sixth, seventh and eighth graders with a very important piece of advice about the stage of life they are experiencing.
“Take education seriously, especially at this age, Robinson said. “Be prepared, feel good about yourself, do well at school and make a contribution at home. If you do this now, when you get to high school, then you will be ready to be a good student. Be a leader, not a follower. If you have integrity, you know what you believe in and you don’t let someone sway you in another direction. Integrity is an important value to develop now as you will use it the rest of your lives.”
The integrity that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had as people was obviously passed down to Sharon Robinson and Bud Selig, hopefully today, that important virtue will be passed on to another generation.
Thank you to the Brewers Community Foundation, City Year, Marcus Cinemas, Major League Baseball, Commissioner Selig, Sharon Robinson and the students of Roosevelt Middle School for making today very special.
Cait’s Summer Reading List: Reviewing Haudricourt’s “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”
I recently finished reading a new book about the Milwaukee Brewers entitled, “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” The book was written by Tom Haudricourt of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with a foreword by Jim Gantner.
Haudricourt, who has covered the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and Milwaukee Sentinel) since 1985, has witnessed many of these items firsthand. This is his third book about the team (he is also the author of Brewers Essential and Where Have You Gone ’82 Brewers?) and “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” covers everything from Brewers Baseball arriving in Milwaukee (1970) through recent triumphs such as the 2011 NLCS appearance.
Mixed in among seminal and paramount moments in Brewers history are funny and bizarre items, along with things that true Brewers fans find essential to the game experience, like the Famous Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer, tailgating and more. [John is even mentioned in a sidebar within the book, how cool is that?!]
With an average of 2.5 pages dedicated to each “thing,” the book is a quick and easy read. And, although I very much like Haudricourt’s style of sports reporting, this book is a welcome departure from that objective point of view. Instead, each item reads like its own little vignette, complete with quotes—either directly from the person or people mentioned within it, or from another source, such as a newspaper or interview at that time.
In his introduction, Haudricourt notes, “The Brewers…do not have 100 years, or even half that, of history,” which is true, with the Club in just its 44th season–but that does not mean it does not have 100 (or more) items that merited inclusion in this book. And, although I am in my eleventh season with the Club (wow, I’ve been here for one-quarter of its existence!) and I was born and raised in Milwaukee as a Brewers fan, there are still many of these key moments of Brewers history that occurred before I was born (i.e. the 1982 World Series) or when I was too young to remember (1987 Team Streak).
And then I think about all of the Brewers fans who are younger than me, or those who have moved to Milwaukee in the last few years and this is really a book that needed to be written.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan from the days of Harvey Kuenn and Paul Molitor or a new supporter of Ron Roenicke and Ryan Braun, this book contains everything Brewers fans should know, see and do in their lifetime.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to call yourself a True Blue Brew Crew fan, you should have to read this book and be tested on the contents, the most important facts about the team, traditions and what being a Brewers fan is all about. Players should be provided with a copy when they sign their contracts. What’s that saying? In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been? In only 44 seasons, we have a rich history and I’m confident that in the direction we’re headed, it’s only going to get richer.
I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but I can tell you that I crunched some numbers to get my personal “stats”:
- Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 14 “Things To Do” and I’ve done them all.
- Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 86 “Things to Know” and, of course, after reading the book, I now know them all, but:
- Of the 86 “Things to Know,” I was alive for 71 of them.
- Of those 71, I remember being aware of 46 of them at the time (i.e. some happened when I was too young or wasn’t following as closely).
- Of those 46, 29 of them happened since I started working here (2003).
- From there, I tried to make a list of the ones for which I was actually physically present, but it got difficult to do, so I’ll just call out a few of the more specific things mentioned that I’m proud to say I witnessed in person:
- April 27, 2004: Chad Moeller’s Cycle
- April 28, 2004: Brewers huge comeback win against Cincinnati Reds
- May 16, 2004: Ben Sheets’ 18 strikeouts vs. Atlanta Braves
- September 28, 2008: Brewers Clinch the Wild Card
- September 23, 2011: Brewers Clinch NL Central Title
I’ve also included a photo gallery of some of the “Things” included in the book, but you’ll have to read it then come back to place which ones I’m referencing!
The book is currently available for sale in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and at other booksellers.
Once you’re done, I’d be curious to know what you think. Did Tom leave anything out? Let me know in the comments field below.
Finally, I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky blog reader who is the first person to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the correct answer to the following trivia question:
What team did Doug Melvin swing a massive nine-player deal with on December 1, 2003, which six players did we acquire from that trade AND what was the common name Brewers fans used to reference those collective players at the time?
UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Michael from Iowa who knew that this was a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which the Brewers received: Wisconisn native Craig Counsell, second baseman Junior Spivey, first baseman Lyle Overbay, catcher Chad Moeller, and lefthanders Jorge De La Rosa, and Chris Capuano, players collectively known as the “Six-Pack”. [Note: I would have also accepted "Brewerbacks"!]
Last month, I introduced to you Tim Rappé, Executive Director of our new Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip, eight separate week-long baseball/softball camps open to youth (ages 6-14) that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer.
Along with signing up for the camps and getting excellent baseball instruction there, every so often, Tim will provide some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. See below for his insight on the batting stance!
“MILWAUKEE TWO-STEP”…THE DANCE OF THE GREAT INFIELDER
Time to talk a little defense. Any coach or scout who has to make a decision about which player we draft or keep on our team at travel tryouts knows how difficult that decision can often be. Certainly, we look at arm speed, bat speed, leg speed, position-specific proficiency and the important but intangible, character “make up.” In addition to those attributes, I think it’s fair to say that we all have something that we specifically look for that can make or break that player’s chances of going forward.
Here’s mine. When it comes to judging an infielder I watch their approach to a ground ball…specifically, I watch their feet. I want to see the infielder work him or herself into position to (a) decrease the distance of the throw and (b) increase momentum to the target. Does the infielder come to the ground ball and stop or does he/she come through the ball and continue in the direction of the target? By virtue of this simple evaluation, I will often make the “cut or keep” decision.
And here’s how we teach kids to do this correctly. The feet do not land at the same time as they would when a basketball player does a “jump stop.” The basketball player is deliberately stopping his momentum to his target and converting that to a vertical movement. The baseball and softball player wants to create controlled momentum toward their target.
Before I get into more depth on this subject it’s important to understand that I am describing the action of the infielder throwing the ball from his/her right to left like a shortstop to 1b. It does not apply to the first baseman throwing to 2b or the second baseman throwing to the shortstop covering 2b. Got it?
It starts by working the body into a position where the ground ball is just off his/her left shoulder. Whether the infielder takes two steps or ten steps to charge the ball, the last two steps are: Right Foot followed by Left Foot. This left shoulder positioning and Right Foot/Left Foot movement causes the fielder to receive the ball just to the left of his/her belly button and when the fielder makes a power step to the target, the distance is shortened considerably and momentum gives their throw more “carry.” The infielder has achieved what I want to see..Decreased Distance and Increased Momentum.
A smooth, rhythmic, RIGHT>LEFT>STEP>THROW execution is exactly how an average arm can achieve above average results and the “plus” arm turns into a rocket launcher. And it tells me that the player has been well trained and is ready to advance.
There is another critical positive result from this fielding approach. The fielder who comes to the ball and stops or even worse, sits back and lets the ball come to him/her is sentenced to whatever the last hop is…good or nasty. The fielder who is aggressive and comes through the ball can often control which hop he/she fields. Ever wonder why great shortstops seem to always get good hops? It’s not an accident.
Want to make the team and show that you’ve got the stuff to be a big time infielder? Remember the RIGHT>LEFT>STEP>THROW fielding action.
Until next time, “If you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.”
Starting on Opening Day, for every “whiff” (strikeout) across MLB during the 2013 regular season, Head & Shoulders with Old Spice has pledged to make a $1 donation to the MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI ) program. The RBI program is the MLB youth initiative designed to give young people from urban and underserved communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourages academic success and achievement, and teaches important life lessons and values.
MLB fans can take part in the “Season of the #Whiff” on Twitter all season long and help their team & community–the MLB Club with the most tweets each month will earn $10,000 for their local RBI Leagues!
Here’s how YOU can help the cause in Wisconsin:
Celebrate strikeouts by Brewers pitchers by incorporating #WHIFF + @Brewers into your tweets. You’ll see us doing this all season long on our accounts, so we hope you’ll follow along!
Track our progress by following @HSforMen on Twitter or visiting the Head & Shoulders “Season of the #Whiff” page on Mlb.com.
We are currently in 4th place for April, but I know Brewers fans can continue to embrace this promotion and come on strong so we can come out on top! Pay attention and start tweeting @Brewers #Whiff!
The Brewers are hot. Seven wins in a row overall including sweeps of the Giants and Cubs at Miller Park last week have the Brewers with an overall record of 9-8 after a 2-8 start.
With this current hot streak, Major League Baseball recognized the personal performance of Carlos Gomez, naming him National League Player of the Week for April 15 – 21. During that six-game stretch, Gomez hit .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs and three RBI. He extended his streak of three-hit games to three as he recorded three hits in games on April 16 and 17 against the Giants. Yesterday, he recorded his 500th career hit with a single off Scott Feldman.
Did we mention that Gomez also defied the laws of physics by somehow getting out of the way of a Ryan Braun water shower? This photo definitely went viral over the week and was a great moment caught by AP photographer Morry Gash.
Overall this season, Gomez is hitting .300 with two home runs and five RBI.
Congratulations to Gomez on being named NL Player of the Week!
How does that song go? Baseball, hot dogs, shaving cream pie…. hmm… I’m not sure that’s it, but this week, the Crew sure has had some fun in the dugout after their victories, celebrating with post-game antics.
With the Crew going for 7 in a row today, they sure have made the game look as easy as, well… pie this week!
Take a look at the gifs and an amazing photo from this homestand.
After last night’s exciting win over the Cubs, Yovani Gallardo, Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Dave Nelson, my colleagues and I were all on hand early this morning for a special Brewers Season Seat Holder event for those who paid for their 2013 season tickets in full by the November 15 early renewal deadline.
Here are some photos from this fun event.
It’s always a pleasure to get to meet so many of our most loyal fans; we hope you had a wonderful time!
Working in marketing, I often get asked what our target demographic is…. but that’s not really an easy question because people of all ages truly love baseball and the reasons why fans come out to Miller Park (beyond the team on the field, of course) are endless (think: field trips, birthday celebrations, family reunions, company outings, client meetings, etc.).
Take today for example, I went from watching our annual Weather Day event where we hosted thousands of children for a pregame meteorology lesson from the TMJ4 Storm Team 4 meteorologists to sitting down with Earl Henry, a delightful gentleman who was here to celebrate his 99th birthday.
Earl’s granddaughter, Jill Finlayson, had contacted me earlier this month and told me about all of the things she was doing to make Earl’s 99th birthday a special one. Since he’s a Milwaukee native and a lifelong Brewers fan, bringing Earl out to Miller Park was right at the top of her list. Jill also made sure Earl arrived in style, in a GoRiteway limo.
Earl’s actual birthday was last Thursday, April 11 (which just happens to be the same birthdate as my dad), but today was the best day for them to come out and take in a game on this homestand.
Little did they know just how fitting it actually was.
You see, Earl’s career was dedicated to education and what better day for him to choose to come out (unbeknownst to him) than Weather Day, one of our biggest educational events.
Earl earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the Milwaukee State Teachers College (MSTC). In 1937, he taught at Milwaukee’s Garden Homes School and later, the Boys’ Technical High School (another odd coincidence–so did my own grandfather. I wasn’t able to find out if they had crossed paths, but there was a good chance they may have.) before becoming vice-principal at Thirty-seventh Street School in 1947.
In 1954, Earl received his first principalship at Eugene Field School; in 1959, he became principal of Franklin School on the north side; and in 1967, he became the first principal of Stuart School, where he continued for 12 years until his retirement in 1979.
Earl’s wife Kay was also a dedicated kindergarten teacher in Milwaukee for her career and together, they created the Earl & Kathryn Henry Scholarship Fund at UW-Milwaukee. Now in it’s 10th year, the scholarship aims to benefit undergraduate students enrolled in UW-Milwaukee’s School of Education who plan to become elementary school teachers or school administrators, preferably in the Milwaukee Public School System.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Earl, who talked about his career and former students. He also reminisced about not only his days following the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers at County Stadium, but going back to the Borchert Field days of the minor league American Association Brewers, when he was a good friend of announcer Russ Winnie.
The American Association Milwaukee Brewers played for 50 years, from 1902-1952; they won their first American Association championship in 1913 and repeated the next year. All told the American Association Brewers won eight pennants in their fifty-one seasons.
This year, we’re honoring the 100th anniversary American Association Brewers on May 5. [Click for a photo of the Corey Hart bobblehead.]
For perspective, Earl just missed being born for that first championship, but he was there for their second, although he was just a baby.
It’s amazing to think about and what’s even more amazing is that Earl is still as spry as ever. He needs no help getting to his seat, his memory is sharp as a whip and boy, is he funny!
“I read in the paper that one of the Sausages was stolen,” Earl told me.
“Yes,” I confirmed. “We are glad he’s back.”
“I suppose that’s not the wurst thing that could happen,” Earl said, as he started to chuckle.
Yes, a wonderful family, a love of baseball and a great sense of humor–things that will get you far in life.
We wish Earl a very happy 99th birthday–and many more. We’re glad he could come out to celebrate with us today, where he could feel at home, especially surrounded by all of the teachers and children.
If you would like to donate to the Earl & Kathryn Henry Scholarship Fund, please click here. You can also join in wishing Earl a Happy 99th Birthday on the UW-Milwaukee School of Education’s Facebook Page.
This weekend, the Brewers Community Foundation’s Drive for Charity will kick-off with a toiletry-item drive during the Brewers series against the Chicago Cubs.
Fans attending the games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are invited to bring new, full-size toiletry items such as toothpaste/toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner, razors & shaving cream, bars of soap, bottles of body wash and deodorant. These items will be donated to the Guest House of Milwaukee.
Each fan that donates will receive a collectible Brewers player pin–this weekend’s pin is of pitcher Marco Estrada. Fans should drop off their items from the time the gates open through the second inning of each of the games this weekend.
For the complete 2013 Brewers Community Foundation Drive for Charity schedule, please see below.
April 19-21 vs. Cubs
Brewers Community Foundation invites you to drop off any new, full-size toiletry items during the Brewers Community Foundation Drive For Charity. Each fan that donates will receive a Milwaukee Brewers collectible player pin featuring Marco Estrada. Bring your donation to the Chicago Cubs series from the gate opening through the second inning.
June 21-23 vs. Braves
Brewers Community Foundation invites you to drop off new school or art supplies during the Brewers Community Foundation Drive For Charity. Each fan that donates will receive a Milwaukee Brewers Player collectible pin featuring Chris Narveson. Bring your donation to the Atlanta Braves series from the gate opening through the second inning.
August 30-September 1 vs. Angels
Brewers Community Foundation invites you to drop off any new or gently used winter wear during the Brewers Community Foundation Drive For Charity. Each fan that donates will receive a Milwaukee Brewers player collectible pin featuring Mike Fiers. Bring your donation to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim series from the gate opening through the second inning.