Major League Baseball is honoring Jackie Robinson today by having all players wear his number, 42. I honor Jackie Robinson differently: I hate him.
And yes, it has everything to do with color: blue.
Jackie Robinson was a Dodger. As a Yankee fan, mentioning Robinson conjures thoughts of the 1955 World Series – including the blown call on his steal of home and his team beating the Yankees in seven games. Was I alive for it? Not even close. But as a fan, it stings, and so Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Johnny Podres, and especially Sandy [expletive] Amoros are forever enemies.
One could argue either way whether being the first black major league baseball player was enough to make someone a Hall of Famer; Robinson’s on-field achievements made the point moot. He didn’t ask for grudging respect from fans or peers, his play demanded it.
Robinson was a ballplayer first and foremost.
So yeah, I hate Jackie Robinson. I hate him the way I hate David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Luis Gonzalez, Sandy Alomar, Alex Gonzales, Bob Gibson, the 1976 Reds, the 1993 Blue Jays, and of course Pedro Martinez. It’s not a personal hatred – I wouldn’t throw a D-cell at him – but on the baseball field I’d sure love for him to strike out four or five times.
Would Jackie Robinson have wanted it any other way?