In the movie "42," a media member predicted that if baseball allowed blacks in the major leagues, it would be dominated by the race.
Today's reality is that just 7% of all of major league baseball is African American. There are many reasons for this, though the biggest, perhaps, is that baseball has become an expensive sport in the last generation. Over the last 20 years, it has ceased to be an inner-city sport and the creation of "travel" and "club" teams have overtaken little leagues in popularity. The price of a great aluminum bat? Try $400!
MLB has to do a better job at encouraging today's blacks to get involved in baseball. If not, they run the risk of Jackie Robinson's legacy becoming diminished for future generations.
The movie? If you can excuse some of the scenes where displays of racism clearly were overdone, particularly a scene where Phillies' manager Ben Chapman is practically in the batter's box with Robinson, this is an outstanding movie for baseball and non-baseball fans of all ages. Robinson's story transcends the sport and says more about our society and how it has changed since the forties than anything else.
For me, the most telling scene showed a father and young son at a Dodger game in Cincinnati. They are enjoying a friendly conversation about Pee Wee Reese and how they hope he can get a few hits. Then Jackie takes the field and the father starts shouting racial epitaphs at him. The son, at first looking horrified by his father's actions, then imitates him and begins shouting the same hurtful words. It shows how the examples that fathers set for their sons, good or bad, can play such a huge influence in their lives.
All in all, a very strong movie. Even those who know Jackie's story will be impressed.