Two Black Streaks And The Part Two Italians Played

Updated: November 16, 2007




Monday One Streak


Tuesday Another


This is a story about Baseball and Basketball and the role individuals can play without even being part of the Action. In this case one more active the other far more tangential. But in both cases it is an Italian playing a part in Records that directly involve African Americans.

Here’s how

Tuesday evening the NBA Champion Detroit Pistons just as good this season as last without Coach Larry Brown and with new Coach Flip Saunders, the Team to beat in the approaching Playoffs, they have already clinched the Eastern Conference and home court advantage, in 1st place with 59 Victories to only 14 Losses and 11 games ahead of 2nd place Miami, played New Orleans at home.

There was something Different about that Game

Tuesday evening

than the previous 73

For all 73 games of the 2005-2006 season

Chauncey Billups

Richard Hamilton

Tayshaun Prince

Ben Wallace

Rasheed Wallace

Have been the Starting 5 for Detroit. That is an NBA record for consecutive games by the same Starting 5 which they broke 6 games ago with their 67 consecutive game. But the Streak ended Tuesday night through no fault of their own.

It is a result of their Sunday afternoon game against Phoenix in which Rasheed Wallace picked up his 16th technical foul of the season. There is a new rule in the League this year which has been almost invisible that once a player goes over 15 technical fouls they draw a Suspension in the very next game. Sunday Rasheed Wallace was hit with his 16th Technical of this season “earning” him an immediate one game suspension the game off Tuesday.

Also costing him $125,122 or 1/82 of his salary the amount he is paid for each and every game of the regular season. And he might lose more. For every 2 Technicals the rest of the season he will draw an additional ONE game suspension. Good thing the Pistons are so Good and have already Clinched and have nothing to prove the rest of this regular season.

Rasheed will likely get a lot of Rest

the final 9 remaining games

Which brings us if somewhat peripherally to our Italian part of this Story. Argentine born Italian Carlos Delfino the only white player on the 15 player Pistons Roster. He hardly ever plays much averaging 9 minutes a game this season and of course never having started a game this his 2nd season. Although he did start 4 games last season. Now because of Wallace’s foul problems he just might Start a Game this Season.

Which brings us to the other Streak

a far more important one with

a more direct Italian connection

Monday’s Opening Day in the Majors St. Louis vs. Philadelphia. Tony LaRussa the veteran manager of the Cardinals. Jimmy Rollins up for his 4th and final time in the game his 36 game hitting Streak on the line. It was clear that even with St. Louis ahead 13-5 that (white) Cardinals reliever Adam Wainwright was going to take it upon himself to preserve White Supremacy (sic) and make sure Rollins would not have the opportunity to challenge Italian Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak.

Wainwright threw Rollins 3 straight Balls practically in the dirt impossible to even swing at let alone hit. There was no doubt his intent was to Walk Rollins and end the Streak. That is when Italian American Tony LaRussa standing in the Dugout did something he deserves our Eternal Gratitude and Recognition for. Even though it might effect fellow Italian Joe DiMaggio’s most precious record.

At this point LaRussa signaled his catcher Yadier Molina to tell Cardinals pitcher Wainwright in no uncertain terms to throw Rollins a Strike giving Rollins a very small but real chance to try and get a Hit and extend his Streak into the new Season. And as everyone now knows or should Rollins ripped that Baseball down the right field line for a Double. And his Quest for 56 games remains Alive.

The streak is Alive

Because one individual, one manager, one human being, one Italian American understood the meaning of fairness and the many forms of Bigotry and Tony LaRussa was not going to stand by and watch his pitcher “intentionally” walk Rollins to end his Streak. Ending Rollins dream “intentionally” walking him.

Long live Tony LaRussa

All hail Tony LaRussa

Remember Tony LaRussa

for the Decision he made

on a Monday afternoon in April

in Philadelphia

Jimmy Rollins always will

so should All of us.