Inside Conditions…And the band ‘wagon’ played on

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AUBREY BRUCE

 

“People movin out, people movin in why, why because of the color of their skin.  Run, Run, run but you sure can’t hide. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Vote for me and I’ll set you free. Rap on brother, rap on. The only person talkin bout love thy brother is the preacher; and it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher. Fear in the air, tension everywhere, unemployment risin fast the Beatles new record’s a gas; and the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation. And the band played on” (from the Temptations 1970 smash hit. ‘Ball of Confusion).  

The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to have “righted” the ship and may be on their first voyage to the playoffs in the new millennium. However, I remain somewhat confused as to how the Pirates allowed their vessel to become vulnerable to the “torpedo” of incompetence and mismanagement in the first place.

I said previously that the Pirates slide did not begin when the Atlanta Braves “sloth” footed infielder Sid Bream slid the Braves into the 1992 World Series. Their road to fiscal “iniquity” was paved many years before that fateful run scored by Bream. More than a decade before the Pirates NLCS loss to the Braves Pittsburgh was the first MLB team to start an all African American lineup in a game. They were a talented and confident bunch but you know what? They were not White. These young Black men invented the word “swagger.” However that was not nearly enough to capture the hearts of the Bucco faithful.  In life and in sports people tend to form and maintain support for the things and concepts that are familiar to them regardless of  whether the outcome is positive or negative.   

“People movin out, people movin in why, why because of the color of their skin.”  

Hey “yaw’ll” that phrase could’ve been easily replaced by; “players are shipped out, players are shipped in why, why, why because of the color of their skin and the color of money.”  

The management and ownership of the Pirates has been almost always forced to consider the size and the demographic makeup of the region (at least after 1971).  It makes perfect sense at least from a bean counters point of view because if you look back at the Pirates past management strategy and their conscious decision to focus on and pursue a Eurocentric market it may seem a bit “racially insensitive” to have followed that course but their strategy was and still is perfectly logical to me. Until this season it was like pulling teeth for me to “give” Pirates tickets to Black folks.

“Fear in the air, tension everywhere, unemployment risin fast the Beatles new record’s a gas.”

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