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Rabbi's Week in Review - 3/18/2024

03/18/2024 12:40:40 PM

Mar18

Last week, Fay and I attended another of the Trailblazing Talks, the speaker series at the Kauffman Center, this one titled “From Sandlots to Stadiums.” The featured presenter was sports photographer Jean Fruth. This followed the previous week’s program presented by the Jewish Experiences program through The J and Jewish Federation, featuring the great sports (and particularly baseball) writer Joe Posnanski. The program took place at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine.

Joe Posnanski, along with a notable panel including former Royals player Alex Gordan, gave us wonderful stories, including stories about the beloved Buck O’Neil. Likewise, Jean Fruth engaged us with stories, including inspirational tales about her work focusing on baseball in countries like Uganda, and her latest project in lifting up women in baseball — this as the Kansas City Current played its opening game in the first stadium in the world built solely for a women’s professional sports team.

Baseball, maybe more than any sport, brings out “the stories” that people from all walks of life, in all parts of the world, can enjoy and celebrate together. For those of us who grew up on and who love baseball, we do not have to be players to have our own stories of the games we witnessed, and to have shared those experiences with family and friends.

To try and put it succinctly, there is a soul to baseball. As we know from 2014 and 2015, it has a way of bringing a community together that crosses boundaries of political differences and racial, religious and economic boundaries.

I would love to leave it there. Yet, ignoring the acrimony surrounding the upcoming  ⅜-cent sales-tax vote for a new baseball stadium (and major renovations for our football stadium) would be a glaring omission. As one who has been a Royals fan since opening day 1969, I find the present status of talks regarding a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to be painful. A meaningful CBA with teeth would ensure jobs for workers in Kansas City’s poorest ZIP codes, and ensure a living wage for low-wage workers who are essential in giving us the full baseball experience at the ballpark — if you are going to buy peanuts and Cracker Jack, you need someone to sell it to you. A good CBA would also give those who have not been as fortunate as I to have the same wonderful baseball experiences I have had for most of my life.

As much as I love my Royals, I need them to do the right thing and enter into a meaningful CBA.  They need to act like mensches. Otherwise, it would forever stand as an obstacle to my support for the team. It would be a sad day not only for me but also for everyone in Kansas City who loves baseball and has shown loyalty to the Royals.

Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784