For the past seventeen years I have been catching grief about my predictions concerning the Pittsburgh Pirates. Folks have laughed at me in private and some have even ridiculed me in public in regards to my positive “prognostications.”
Two weeks ago I penned a column lamenting the fact that in spite of the Pirates committing to the African American Heritage weekend, the overall Black turnout for the Pirates vs. Royals series which included a full blown concert featuring ‘Boyz to Men’ was abysmal; to say the least. Oh by the way, I definitely received a response; maybe not the reaction that I was expecting but a response nonetheless.
During the seventh inning stretch of the final contest of the three game series between the Pirates and the Detroit Tigers played last weekend, I exited the press box to go grab a hot pretzel. On my way back upstairs I was passing a wing joint (no free plugs here) and I met a reader who introduced herself as Joann.
I will change her name to Joann in order to protect the guilty. “Mr. Bruce, Mr. Aubrey Bruce me and my husband read you every week. Wow! You have a lot more gray hair than in the picture in your column. Maybe you should tell them to update the photo,” she said. At this point I was really sort of pissed off at this woman who had suddenly appointed and anointed herself as the new photo editor of the NPC.
“Hey Jean, did you say your name was Jean,” I said and before she was able to respond I continued on in a very semi-toxic and condescending tone, “I have no control nor do I desire any over who makes the decisions in regards to what photos are used. As a matter of fact, they are not required to use a photo at all; they may just want to attach my face to my madness.” She looked at me quizzically and asked me a question. “Mr. Bruce did you ever think that maybe one of the primary reasons that a lot of Blacks did not attend the games was because they just didn’t have the money? I saw a report on CNN that said that the net worth in Black households is $4995.00 and the net worth of White households is $110,729.00. That means White households are worth more than twenty times that of Black households,” she said. I checked her assertions and the numbers that she alluded to were correct. She continued by saying, “We just don’t have the resources to spend on entertainment.” I said, “Yeah, Jean that thought crossed my mind for a nano-second or less that our families don’t have the loot to go to a lot of events but wait; I work out of an office on Fourth Avenue Downtown. There are several nail salons in the immediate area and every time I go out for lunch, they are packed, even in the midst of this wretched economy.” She interrupted me by saying, “Mr. Bruce you know women, they are always trying to be beautiful and your nails are one of the first things that people look at.” I said, “Okay, I’ll give you that but if I agree with you that the net worth and the incomes in Black homes don’t permit a lot of hangin’ out at the ballpark, then how can they spend millions per year, hangin’ out in hair and nail salons?” Before she had a chance to respond I kept it rollin’. “Also, aren’t they going to be cautious about doing housework and other domestic related activities for fear of ruining that brand new nails job,” I asked. All of a sudden it dawned on me gray hair and all that I had a game to cover. “Well Joan, I have to get back, it was nice arguing with you oops, I meant talking with you,” I said. She smiled and shook my hand and said, “Thanks for listening Mr. Bruce.”
As I made my way back to the “box” I smiled but behind my smile was concern because through it all I was thinking that we have to shut down the “excuses” factory. Yes, the majority of Blacks have less money, are less educated, and have lesser paying jobs that demand far more work than the pay that is generated. However, that just means we have to be better stewards of the money that we do have.
I’d like to finish talking about the Pirates. For the three game series played last weekend between Pittsburgh and Detroit the total attendance was 111, 878. Attendance for the series finale was 35,179. The fans that attended did so without having to be promised or motivated by fireworks, concerts, honorariums or any other exterior events put in place to spur temporary attendance. These fans came to see Prince Fielder and Andrew McCutchen, two of the most exciting players in MLB who just happen to be Black. We cannot exhume Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell or any other Negro Leagues standout from the past to get out on the diamond and play now! See I look at it this way. When all you have to look forward to is the past, then your future will surely be doomed.
Our ship is sinking slowly. We can have all of the Negro League celebrations that we want but these events will not make the youth of today, stay in school and get better grades, stop drive by’s or drug selling and drug usage. Talking and reminiscing about the Homestead Gray’s will not prevent a teen girl from becoming a teen mom. Let’s all quit the chatter and do the things that matter, peace.
(Aubrey Bruce can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!
- Janet Jackson, Wissam Al Mana Married In Secret Wedding (2)
- Fifth annual National Achievers Society inductions (2)
- Breast cancer survivor group targets young Black women (1)
- Wes Moore replaces Dr. Ben Carson as Johns Hopkins commencement speaker (3)
- Record Powerball jackpot inspires office pools (2)