Watered down?

Gonna throw one out to the readers today, because I’m really not sure what to think about this one. The tribute that several players are planning to give to Jackie Robinson by wearing his No. 42 today on the 60th anniversary of his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, is now being criticized.

Minnesota’s Torii Hunter and Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia are two of the most outspoken critics, and their words shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hunter is one one of the most socially aware, thoughtful players you’ll come across. And recently, Sabathia rightfully called the lack of blacks in baseball a “crisis.” Clearly, these are two guys who didn’t just pop off with a mindless answer to a question.

That said, is it really possible to take the luster away from what Robinson did by having too many people wear his number? Blacks, whites and Latinos will be wearing Robinson’s number today, and by wearing it, they’ll be forced to contemplate who Robinson was and what he stood for. Isn’t that the definition of honoring somebody? I would think Robinson would be proud that so many players want to share in recognizing him.

Have a big package coming out in Sunday’s paper, so I’ll be blogging more on this subject tomorrow.

In the meantime, there are some great think pieces on the Web tonight. USA Today asks if Robinson’s legacy is being watered down? ESPN.com ran a simulation, and found that Robinson would be competing for the batting, doubles and RBI crowns. Jon Weisman of SI.com reviews Jackie’s first day, and Yahoo reviews how his debut with Brooklyn was covered.