Then the tears turn to something else.
In a normal world, not one person would care about the trials and tribulations of a Swisher Sweet robbing, middle of the straight walking, aspiring rapper, good boy thug... but we do not live in a normal world.
So to break up the steady flow of largely inaccurate information on what's happening in 67% black Ferguson, Missouri, a quick trip down memory lane is order to restore the balance.
|Busch Stadium in St. Louis: an oasis for white people to escape the reality of a city awash in black dysfunction (St. Louis Post-Dispatch attacked the whiteness of the crowds - and team - in 2012)|
Don't forget the Knockout Game task force found only in St. Louis... courtesy of black suspects.
So where can a white person go in St. Louis to be... white? To be free of a massive police presence and enjoy a moment of levity from the fear of being the victim of a knockout game attack?
Try Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. [No African-Americans on Cardinals roster, few in the stands, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4-12-12]:
When the Los Angeles Dodgers were in town recently to play the Cardinals, family and friends of Nashonda Porter plopped the 2-year-old girl onto the base of the statues in front of Busch Stadium. The 10 statues near the main gate reflect the legacy of St. Louis baseball.
Porter, going to her first ball game, struck a pose by Lou Brock, who is frozen in time running, looking for his hit to drop somewhere beyond the corner of South Eighth Street and Clark Avenue. She reached up and held the hand of James "Cool Papa" Bell, one of the fastest ever to play the game. And she stood in her small sandals next to Ozzie Smith diving for a ball.
The three statues were particularly special for Porter's entourage.
"They are history," said Lucretia Hall, the girl's godmother, "because of the fact they are African-American and Ozzie Smith was one of the best players in his era."
When asked who was her favorite African-American playing for the Cardinals today, Hall paused, struggling to name one. Then her friend, Cornelius Washington, leaned in to help.
"There ain't none," he said.
Washington, 67, of Jennings, came to see the Dodgers play, not the Cardinals. His soul has been with that team since he grew up in Mississippi and Jackie Robinson made history in 1947 as the first black player in big league baseball's modern era.
Still, he often studies the Cardinals' 40-man roster looking for African-Americans to watch. That's become a harder task over the years. For a spell in 2006, the Cardinals had no African-Americans, but there was a hitting coach who was black.
For his part, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said his focus is on performance, not race — a sentiment echoed by a few of his players.
On not having any African-Americans on the roster, he said, "It's the first I've thought about it. It's just whoever is the best player."
The trend is evident in the stands at Busch Stadium, which is filled primarily with white fans, as was the case last month when the Cardinals played the Dodgers.
As the stadium filled for one game, Joe Trice, 39, who is black, fed a parking meter a few blocks away, indifferent about the game. Yet he wore a black and gray St. Louis Cardinals cap. He likes the St. Louis connection, but he's not a fan. The cap just matched his high tops.
"I was never into that sport, really, just basketball," he said. "And I like golf, pool and boxing."
Lower down in the stadium, right behind home plate, Derrick Williams, 40, sat with his wife and two sons. They were among seven African-Americans seated in the Cardinals Club section. Williams, a warehouse employee from north St. Louis County, coaches little league, goes to as many games as he can and says baseball is "just part of me."
He said he didn't like having any African-Americans on the team to root for, "but it's the state of baseball."
He chalks it up to young black athletes going out for football and basketball, drawn by star athletes in those sports. Baseball players, meanwhile, don't get promoted well on TV.
"I can tell them" about baseball, he said of his two boys. "But kids are very visual. When I was growing up, I had Ozzie. I had (Willie) McGee. That was a big deal to see them play."
Fred Benson, 19, of Florissant, a bio-medical engineering student in the upper deck, said he knew all about Jackie Robinson. And he said he has friends who reject the Cardinals because there aren't any black players.
"I'd like to see some, but I'm still going to come," he said. "This is my hometown. St. Louis is a baseball city. I grew up liking it. We've had black players in the past."For three hours, roughly 81 nights a year, white people can venture into Busch Stadium and be generally unmolested by a black presence.
What were those words from the Don Henley song? "Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go..."
Funny: white people in St. Louis, particularly business owners whose investment caters to Cardinals fans (read: white people), don't want to let go of those days of old when St. Louis boasted a safe downtown. [Ballpark Village dress code: No riffraff, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 3-26-14]:
Gents, don’t come to Busch Stadium in a tank top this summer with plans to grab a postgame beer at Ballpark Village. Sleeveless shirts, for men, are one of the many items banned from bars and restaurants in the new complex after 9 p.m.
Athletic shorts are barred after dark. As are sweat suits, team jerseys (unless it’s game day, of course) — and children.
Minors must always be accompanied by a legal guardian, according to policies listed on the Ballpark Village website. And no one under 21 can enter after 9 p.m.
Ballpark Village, the long-awaited joint venture between the Cardinals and co-developer Cordish Cos. of Baltimore, opened to media Tuesday, revealing the complex in all its sports-bar glory: A 35-foot television (measured on the diagonal), a retractable glass roof and red leather bench seats worthy of a cigar bar or late-night lounge.
The complex officially opens Thursday, with a ribbon-cutting and a free concert by Third Eye Blind.
But if Cordish’s other developments are any indicator, it’s the dress code that could cause the most controversy.
Cordish’s rules on proper attire have stirred outrage in Louisville, Ky., where the company developed Fourth Street Live, and Kansas City, where it runs the Power & Light entertainment district.
In both cities, civic and civil rights leaders charged that the dress codes targeted African-Americans, and, worse, were selectively enforced. Just this month, attorneys filed a class action suit alleging a pattern of discrimination at Power & Light.
The dress codes at several Ballpark Village bars, according to the website, are similar to those at Power & Light.
Ballpark Village, itself, doesn’t have a dress code, noted Ron Watermon, vice president of communications for the Cardinals. Nor does the team’s restaurant, Cardinals Nation. Team executives, he said, are expecting fans to adhere to the same rules they follow in the ballpark: no obscene or indecent clothing.
“Our focus is on creating a family environment,” Watermon said of the restaurant.
Any business attempting to cater to black people is one that proudly accepts EBT/Food Stamps.
Busch Stadium is an oasis of white civility in St. Louis, but this is merely a mirage.
Just a mirage.
Three or four hours of seeing the country as it existed in prior to 1963, before our borders were flung open and elected officials of both political party's decided it was time to elect a new people.
"Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go..."
But we can't let them go. The past must be our guide to a better a future.