any people think of flowers and warmer days when they think of spring. But, for some people, it’s the thought of cleats sliding into home plate, the thud of a bat hitting a ball, the smack of a closing glove and the thrill of cheering for their favorite team. Yes, for some, spring means the return of America’s favorite pasttime— baseball—and this spring, in theaters everywhere, the movie “42” will be a “can’t miss” for baseball lovers everywhere.
At the beginning of the movie, Jackie Robinson played by actor Chadwick Boseman is just an average person with an incredible talent who is playing for a traveling baseball club called the Kansas City Monarchs. Branch Ricky played by actor Harrison Ford opens the door to Robinson’s future with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ricky was the team executive for the Dodgers and specifically wanted to put an African American in major league baseball for the first time. After meeting Mr. Ricky and having a heart to heart talk about how difficult being the only black man in baseball was going to be, Robinson signed up for spring training. He first spent time training in Montreal with the Dodgers’ minor league team, and eventually signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Wearing the number 42 on his jersey, Robinson stepped onto the field as a first baseman in 1947.
Although some supported Robinson, many players and fans were not pleased that he was part of the sport. His own teammates circulated a petition stating that they wouldn’t play if he were on their team, and one time a teammate stuck his foot out as Robinson was running to a base, tearing up Robinson’s leg with the cleats on his shoe. In another incident, the pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates deliberately smacked Robinson in the head with a ball. Yet, Jackie Robinson persevered, and eventually most of his teammates came to like and accept him. One teammate even stood up and defended Robinson when Phillies Manager Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) wouldn’t stop screaming racist comments while Robinson was up to bat. Fans eventually accepted him too, and, in 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Overall, baseball fans and those interested in historical events will not want to miss seeing the film “42.” The movie is not only about baseball, it’s about racism and the fight for civil rights. The events and experiences surrounding Jackie Robinson’s entry into major league baseball and his fight to stay there could easily be applied to other African Americans who were also began striving in earnest for equal opportunities during this period.
However, if you are not a baseball fan, “42” might be a film you admire for its overall message, but it’s probably one you won’t want to watch again because of the many scenes involving a plethora of baseball games and numerous discussions among characters about the sport, which made the film feel slightly repetitive at times. Overall, the film was successful at telling an enticing true story.