Date: Saturday, August 12th, 2017
Opponent: Houston Astros (71-44)
Starters: Mike Fiers (7-6, 4.06) vs. Tyson Ross (2-2, 7.52)
This story will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.
I, like many of you, watched last night as Charlottesville, Virginia became yet another flare-up of an ongoing infection that has ceased to fester below the surface and has now erupted, no longer able to be ignored. It is ugly, painful, and gross. I watched Nazi salutes and calls for a white nation. I watched a large group of torch-bearing white men chant Nazi and KKK platitudes.
That part is (or should be) easy to condemn.
I also watched videos of well-spoken men talk in even-tones and compound sentences, discussing level-headedly how race relations were broken in this country and needed healing. And just as I began to think they were the good guys, they calmly told the camera that the only logical solution was for white america to secede and secure a future for their blood.
That was significantly more chilling.
This morning, I watched as a car sped into a crowd of counter-protesters. I watched a woman fly up a windshield and onto another car ahead of her before the driver reversed through the crowd and sped away. I stopped watching, because I had that option, one that many do not have. I turned off my phone and fought the urge to allow hatred into my own heart. These are not the grumpy old men who “grew up in a different era”. These are home-grown terrorists, committing murder in my country. They are my age, and they are younger. We were mistaken to think this was a problem that will age out.
I told you the story would get worse before it got better.
While I watch this unfold in my own country, I am also aware of Venezuela, where an authoritarian government and an economic crisis have combined to create instability that the region hasn’t seen in some time. Clashes between Venezuelan citizens and the police have claimed hundreds of lives and caused tens of thousands of injuries.
Peace, it turns out, is a fragile notion: in a room of one thousand, the 99.9% who want peace can be overruled by the one who does not. Peace is also easily mimicked, but peace that is built on intimidation and subjugation is no peace at all, it is merely silence and acceptance, enforced with an iron fist.
It is against this background that I want to show you a photo:
Martin Perez, Robinson Chirinos and some other Rangers are handing out backpacks to local kids at Refuge Church in Fort Worth today. pic.twitter.com/2rSzcSEYPa— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 12, 2017
In that photo, we have, left-to-right, Adrian Beltre (Dominican Republic), Mike Napoli (Florida), Rougned Odor (Venezuela), Nomar Mazara (Dominican Republic), Robinson Chirinos (Venezuela), Andrew Cashner (Texas), (unknown), Justin Mashore (California), Austin Bibens-Dirkx (Idaho), Carlos Gomez (Dominican Republic), and Tony Beasley (Fredricksburg, VA - just an hour and a half drive from Charlottesville). Others not pictured but in attendance included Elvis Andrus (Venezuela), Alex Claudio (Puerto Rico), Hector Ortiz (Puerto Rico) and the two men whose charities were the reason of the gathering in the photo: Robinson Chirinos and Martin Perez, both from Venezuela.
E Pluribus Unum.
It is our national motto; translated from latin it reads “out of many, one.”
Today, this multi-national collective met at a church to place donated school supplies into backpacks to give to children who cannot afford necessary school supplies. Listen to Robinson Chirinos talk to Sam Butler (who covered the event for MLB.com) about why this event happened. It wasn’t the typical safe-and-easy answer of a player who is smiling for a PR photo and a tax break.
“It’s awesome, man. I think that not only as a baseball player but also as a person, this is what we really need to be doing. Serving the community (…) Giving backpacks, but also just giving your time and also trying to help people in need is something not only us, we, need to do, but everybody that can, that’s the responsibility we have here in the world. For me, like, the way God has been blessing me, I feel like I need to bless somebody and help somebody that’s really going through a struggle. That’s pretty much what the Robinson Chirinos Foundation wants to do. Not only here in the States, but also back in Venezuela and all around the world. Just trying to find people who are really going through a tough time, hard time, and help them out.”
“I think it’s something that everybody should do. As a baseball player, we always say our schedule is so busy, but we can find time. You don’t have to go somewhere and spend five hours. We’re coming here today for only an hour and a half, and we’re going to bless a lot of people here. You can go somewhere and be there ten minutes and help somebody. There’s nobody too busy to give ten minutes, twenty minutes or half an hour of their time during the day to go and help somebody. Sometimes we have people going through some tough times, and sometimes you don’t have
to go there. Maybe call somebody and be there for that person. That’s a lot. I think we came to this world to help people. … I think it’s something bigger. That’s something everyone should be doing, trying to find ways to help people with time, with something. The Bible says faith without actions is dead, so you can have faith without doing anything, and it doesn’t mean anything. I think it’s about action and moving and trying to help somebody.”
Martin Perez, likewise, spoke thoughtfully of the reasons behind the donations and the event to give school supplies to children in need.
“It’s not because of the backpacks. It’s because we’re just trying to tell the people how hard it is to get to this level and not everybody can do what we do right now. We don’t want the people to say, “Robinson and Martin, they’re good people.” We’re doing it because I think God tells us to do it. We don’t want anything back. We just want to give the kids a different day, watch the kids have a big smile, and that’s good for us.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if Venezuela loomed large in their minds while they were doing what good they could do here in the United States. Perez, standing in front of a locker with a Venezuelan flag hung so that it covers the top half, including his own name, confirmed that it did, giving a brief re-cap of the struggles his family and others face there; not just the lack of money, but the lack of food and medicine to be purchased, were money available. “With my foundation, too, I’m going to help Venezuela. With food, with medicine, with the things that people need there.”
Like Martin said - I’m not writing this to tell you what good people he and Robinson Chirinos are. I’m telling you so that I can remind you of a few things that are worth fighting for: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.
I hope to remind you that no race has a monopoly on any of these. I hope to remind you that if you want your country to reflect these values, it is your responsibility to put action to your ideals. I hope to remind you to fight for what is good, to reject what is evil, and to remind you not to be afraid or intimidated when people with tiki torches or tinted-window cars try to tell you that this country is theirs. It is not. We have rejected these ideas before, and as the infection continues to flare to the surface, we will continue to reject the bacteria, clean the wound, patch up the broken, and–as part of the same body–endure as much pain as is necessary to bring the healing process to completion.
This story will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.
E Pluribus Unum.
1. Pudge Rodriguez’ #7 will be retired tonight before the game. The festivities are scheduled for 6:20pm, assuming the rain (and hail, maybe?) is gone by then.
2. The Rangers claimed infielder Phil Gosselin off waivers from Pittsburgh today. He will be assigned to Round Rock.
3. Tyson Ross is starting tonight, and was activated from the DL to do so. To make room for Ross, Ryan Rua was sent back to Round Rock after spending nearly two weeks on the big league club and finding his way into zero games.
4. Andrew Cashner will start tomorrow. Martin Perez will go on Monday, which is regular rest for him, giving A.J. Griffin an additional day of rest as he continues to increase his stamina as he returns from the disabled list
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