Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Monday: Easter, Luke Easter

Easter Monday.  Dressed in day after, should be a day off,   casuals. Marty looks at my cap. Asks what the M stands for. I point to the felt letters on my chest, Montreal Royals, I say, You know why? and point to the number 9 on my sleeve. Duke Snider? Roy Campanella?  he asks. No, Jackie Robinson, I reply, his last team before the Dodgers. He smiles at me. And of course, Roberto Clemente. That’s why I wear the Royals shirt.
And so we have our discussion of the Royals amazing string of International League titles. Do they still  have an International League? Marty asks.  Yes, I assure him. 
Jackie Robinsion
The Royals, the cream of the IL . The Dodgers  gave them an ultimatum, he says, give us your best players or...... 
And so we speak of Larry Doby from the Newark Eagles, the Negro League team from across the Hudson, the first  African-American in the American League; and Bobby Avila  of the Cleveland Indians, an early Latin American pioneer.
Larry Doby
So Father, he wants to know, your boys, are they as big a baseball  fans as you are?I shrug..
Do they know  what you know? Do they try and stump you?
Well, not so much I say.  
We talk colors, the Royals in Dodger blue and white. The blue, gray, white of the Toronto Blue Jays, recalling the back in the day Toronto Maple Leafs. He tells me of his old baseball card collection. Scuffed up from pitching cards on the streets. I still don't know why a Mickey Mantle ticket is worth more than a Wille Mays, he says. Mays was better. So, yesterday was Easter, right? I nod.  I got one for ya father, he says, the best baseball player for the season.
Oh yeah, who? I say. 
First baseman for the Indians, Luke Easter, he replies, and laughs. As I get ready  to go back to the church, he says, I have enjoyed out baseball talk. 

Oh, he says, remember Campanella, that great catcher? I was in the same ward as the kid who hit him with a car. They kept trying to prove  a conspiracy but it was just an accident. The kid couldn’t stop crying, kept blaming himself. 
Did he ever get better? I ask.
Don’t know, he says. I went in there as a volunteer committed. Left that way too. 

Willie Mays and Roy Campanella
Back at the church. Steve Goodman of the Video Education Center has arrived. He’s worked withTed, gone to Cuba with El Taller. We do the tour. He tells me about the Center. How they teach teenagers to use cameras. To film what’s going on in their own neighborhoods. Like right now, they’re working  on foreclosures. It’s absolutely the kind of education work we want to do. Seems like the perfect partner. So what's the next step? Get him to talk to Ted.

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