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Friday BP: Happy Juneteenth

It’s a very important day in American history.

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Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants - April 16, 2004 Photo by Jon Soohoo/Getty Images

Hello everyone. Happy Friday, and more importantly, Happy Juneteenth.

Today is the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, a day when a group of enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas found out they were free from slavery, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. As such, the day represents both freedom and the perils and power of slavery and systemic racism in America.

Today is a good day for reflection and education, but more importantly, it’s a good day to put some thought into how we can use future days more productively; how we can be actively and constantly anti-racist, not just on one day or one month, but on all days and all months.

It’s a day to think about how we can use our respective platforms and privileges to fight against racism.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately with baseball. The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others by police officers weigh heavy on my mind; so too do the tragic killings of Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, and so many other Black trans people; so too do the numerous lynchings across the country getting questionably written off as suicide.

But while those are unquestionably the biggest tragedies of systemic oppression in our country, I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that we so quickly dismiss as “small.”

Just nine days ago, Ed Howard — a Black baseball player from Mount Carmel High School in Chicago — was selected in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

The first comment from broadcaster Karl Ravech, whom ESPN had entrusted with on-air duties for draft night, was, “With all the stuff that’s going on with race in the country, you take a kid from Chicago.”

Seconds later, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale — one of the biggest names in baseball media — issued a since-deleted tweet that read, “the #Cubs draft Ed Howard, yes, showing action instead of hollow words.”

These are the things so easily dismissed as “small” that are not in any way small. A Black kid watching the draft, dreaming of making it to the Majors one day, is already facing a sport that has few people who look like them and that, frankly, has made next to no effort to reach them and their communities. And now they have to hear the myth that the only Black player drafted in the first round was chosen for image and charity, rather than for talent.

It matters. It all matters. And all of us — especially those of us with healthy doses of privilege — need to more actively combat the micro-aggressions and harmful comments and actions that are far too often dismissed as being “little.” We need to do more to fight that in our friend circles, our family circles, our hobbies, and our workplaces.

So while I’m going to spend much of the day educating myself on how to be a better anti-racist in general, I’m also going to spend the day trying to figure out how I can be a more active anti-racist in the baseball community.

I would love it if people would share resources in the comments, from charities to reading material to businesses to support.

I’ll start with three things:

  1. I’m currently reading Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race,” and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. It’s mostly filled with things that I know logically, but explained in ways that not only help me internalize them, but that give me the tools to have more productive conversations. I’ve already found myself feeling more comfortable and productive when discussing race and systemic oppression.
  2. If you want to learn more about Juneteenth, here’s a great article.
  3. If you want to support Black businesses, you can visit Dine Black for curated lists of Black-owned restaurants in your city.

Did Barry Bonds hit a home run today?


June 19, 1997: Against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bonds hit a solo home run in the 8th inning off of Mark Guthrie. It gave the Giants a 5-1 lead, and they would win 5-2 (Beat LA). It was his 13th homer of the year.

June 19, 2001: Against the San Diego Padres, Bonds hit a solo home run in the 5th inning off of Adam Eaton. It gave the Giants a 2-0 lead, but they would lose 4-3. It was his 37th homer of the year.

Giants links

Have a great Friday everyone.