Jaffe: Reminders of Jackie Robinson’s resonance in Brooklyn and beyond

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI’s The Strike Zone on April 15, 2013:

It wasn’t Flatbush, the area of Brooklyn where Ebbets Field once stood, but a movie theater on Court Street in downtown Brooklyn made for a most appropriate venue to view 42, the new Jackie Robinson biopic, on Saturday afternoon. The theater stands just four blocks away from 215 Montague Street, where a plaque commemorates the Aug. 28, 1945 signing of Robinson’s first professional contract. A key locale depicted in the movie, that address once held the Dodgers’ business offices, where Branch Rickey set the wheels in motion to bring down Major League Baseball’s longstanding color barrier. “Where the Dodgers made history, and Jackie Robinson changed America,” reads the plaque, which I pass by nearly every week.

At Court Street, I was among a largely African-American audience teeming with teenagers raucously cheering the on-screen action, particularly when the movie hammered home pivotal points in its heavy-handed fashion. The tableau underscored what I’d sensed from skimming reviews of 42: the movie is less for me, a professional writer and student of baseball history able to poke holes in the narrative’s omissions and oversimplifications, and more for those kids, and other casual fans less concerned with the subtleties steamrolled by a broadly-targeted Hollywood treatment.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/04/15/jackie-robinson-brooklyn-dodgers-vin-scully/

Originally published: April 16, 2013. Last Updated: April 16, 2013.