“I don’t like baseball. I like Cardinal baseball”, is how Raymond Doswell, curator of the Negro League Baseball Museum opened his talk this morning. Mr. Doswell was born and raised in the Saint Louis area, before moving to Kansas City, so it is natural that he should feel this way. He does root for the Royals, when they are not playing the Cardinals, but for many years that was a tough thing to do. He and the rest of Kansas City endured many bleak years, while their team remained lost in the wilderness. That’s change now and with the team’s renaissance fan support has grown too. Before moving on, Doswell referred to the Royals fans as the nouveau rich and us Cardinal fans as old money.
Doswell was speaking at the Rep, because the current play there is “Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing”. We saw it last night. This play was created by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Kahn, the creators of “Fly”, their story about the Tuskegee Airmen. The setting is 1947, in a KC boarding house, after a thunderstorm had called the afternoon’s ballgame. Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil, stars of the Negro League are feeling eclipsed, ever since Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. Doswell spoke about Paige, O’Neil and the KC Monarchs. Since he was speaking from a theater’s stage, most of this talk dealt with the Negro League’s treatment in theater, film and on TV.
Baseball began again this last week. It was a rocky start for the old Redbirds, but their home opener is on Monday. Fountains around town are bubbling red and a long season of baseball lies ahead of us. While, not as long as baseball’s storied history, this season, this next chapter lies spread out ahead of us. Let’s play some ball and root for the home team, root for the Cardinals!