Kansas City: Lots and lots of beef (The 48-hour report, now with more adjectives, adverbs)

September 5th, 2006 → 10:28 am @

Gates’s=overly sweet, very overrated (save for the sweet potato pie, which is perfectly sweet and not at all overrated)
Bryant’s=as always, coma-inducingly delicious
Pixie=face-scrunchingly cute
My dance moves=inspiring
Tucker Carlson’s dance moves: Nowhere to be seen
Jake and Jennifer=tear-inducingly sweet
Midwest Airlines=surprisingly comfortable (especially the rear exit row, which reclines)
Mike Lyon‘s artwork=placidly, surreally, eerily beautiful
The American Jazz Museum=pedistrian
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum=Inspiring. And fascinating. And depressing.

The NLBM probably deserves more than a couple of trite words. I don’t need to convince people the museum is something everyone should see; far more eloquent people than me have made that point. So I’ll stick to a couple of quick thoughts:

I know there’s some fundamental difference between using performance-enhancing drugs and playing in a segregated league…but I get a bit bogged down when trying to articulate precisely why, say, Babe Ruth’s home run total should be considered more legitimate than Barry Bonds: Ruth didn’t need to bat against Satchel Paige (who supposedly once started 29 games in a month, said he went 104-1 in 1934, was “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced” according to Joe DiMaggio, and “the greatest pitcher in baseball” according to Ted Williams), while Bonds didn’t need to adhere to the laws of aging.

Speaking of career totals, I understand why, say, Hank Aaron and not Josh Gibson holds the career MLB HR record, or Roy Face and not Paige holds the single-season win-loss percentage record. But shouldn’t the Negro League stats at least be a part of the conversation?

Finally, there’s one aspect of the Nego League Museum I found unsettling. There are several plaques (or disembodied voices, in the form of James Earl Jones) that say something to the effect that the saddest part of the full integration of MLB (which didn’t come until 1959, when the Red Sox brought up Pumpsie Green) was that it led to the death of the Negro Leagues. The Negro Leagues are a vital, dynamic, exciting aspect of 20th century American History…but isn’t it a short leap to arguing that the worst part about the repeal of Jim Crow laws was that it led to the decline of once-vital non-white theatres, restaurants, and nightclubs?

Post Categories: Kansas City & Negro League Baseball Museum