Where do you begin describing a day like we had today at Safeco Field? I have to get myself packed up to leave pretty much first in the morning with Herb and Felton, so for now I’ll just include a couple pics and a handful of scattered thoughts …
Here’s the first pic:
This is pretty cool. Local Seattle artist Mikie Magnusson created that pair of Nike Airs specially for Herb to honor his appearance at the Mariners’ African-American Heritage Day and everything he has achieved in life. The shoes are emblazoned with phrases like “1946,” “Steelheads” and “WCNBL.”
“I was really surprised,” Herb just told me at the hotel. “This was really nice.”
The photo is courtesy of RBI Club Commish Bob Simeone.
Here’s the other photo, taken by team photographer Ben VanHouten of the on-field ceremony featuring a Herb and a slew of other Seattle black trailblazers. The ever-handsome Mr. Simpson is there on the far left:
It was another absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous day at the ballpark — crystal-clear blue sky, no clouds in sight, low 80s … What more could you ask for?
Like I said, I’ll try to write more when I get home tomorrow or Tuesday, but here are a few are a few general thoughts:
• First and foremost, if there’s one message I’d really like to get across, it’s that Mr. Herbert Simpson is one cool dude. And if you ever talk to him, ask him about his Satchel Paige story. 🙂
• Everyone associated with the Mariners has been absolutely wonderful. In addition to the RBI Club officials and members I’ve mentioned before, I’d especially like to thank Tim Helvy, the team’s media relations director who gave me an assignment about Herb for the official team magazine! Also, many, many thanks to Rebecca Hale for all her help and patience with me. I know I was a pest, but she was always willing to go out of her way to help me. Finally, thanks to the wonderful security/hospitality woman who was so kind and got me where I was going. She made a point of telling people to be extra helpful with me because it was my first time in an MLB press box.
• Also thanks to Art Thiel at SportsPressNW.com for giving me not one, but two assignments this weekend.
• Even more thanks here, these to Mariners third base coach Rich Donnelly, who took time before today’s game to be interviewed by me about his connection to African-American baseball groundbreaker Moses Fleetwood Walker (story at SportsPressNW.com to come).
• Thanks to all of you for reading my babble!
• Thanks to Lori, the love of my life, for all of her support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done this without her.
• Finally, it was good to see that the lineups of both teams today included several African-American players, which is definitely a good sign given that the last couple decades have seen a precipitous decline in the number of American blacks in the game. The resurgence of the popularity among the African-American community is so, so good to see.
OK, that’s all for now. I’ll be back in a day or two …