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First Annual MLB Civil Rights Game


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Selig sees contest's future in Memphis

The weekend had been carefully scripted by Dave Chase, his staff and a handful of executives from Major League Baseball, who worked for months to piece together the inaugural Civil Rights Game.

But about five hours before the first pitch was served up at AutoZone Park on Saturday afternoon, Bud Selig tossed a curveball.

As Selig, Major League Baseball's commissioner, delivered some opening remarks at a charity luncheon at The Peabody, he casually revealed that the Civil Rights Game would be played in Memphis "every year."


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Cardinals top Indians, but players edified by Civil Rights Game's deeper meanings


Sabathia, the Indians' ace lefthander, will recall visiting the National Civil Rights Museum for the first time.

"It was a great experience, and something I think everybody needs to see," Sabathia said. "It's something every African-American in this country needs to see."

His trip there was 11 years in the making.

When Sabathia was a sophomore at Vallejo (Calif.) Senior High, he traveled to the Southeast with a group of his fellow students to tour some historically black colleges and universities.

The itinerary called for a stop in Memphis, with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum on the agenda. But for reasons Sabathia can no longer recall, he and his classmates never made it here.

Sabathia didn't realize what he'd missed out on until Friday, when the Indians visited the museum upon their arrival in Memphis.

"I'm definitely coming back," he said. "When my (3-year-old) son gets old enough to understand what's going on, he's definitely coming. That's something my wife and I talked for a long time about last night."


Wainwright got even more satisfaction from a post-game conversation with Cardinals outfielder Preston Wilson, the only African-American on St. Louis' 25-man roster.

"Preston and I were talking ... about what needs to happen to market the game to everyone, and not just certain kids," said Wainwright, alluding to a recent report showing that only 8.4 percent of major leaguers last season were of African-American descent. "You learn a lot from people in games like this."

Pujols, who went 2-for-2, belted a solo homer onto the left-field bluff in the third inning off Cleveland starter Jeremy Sowers, sending a crowd of 12,815 into delirium. But it was a trip to the civil rights museum earlier that impressed Pujols most.

"It was great. It's kind of like, I didn't have to live it, but (I understand)," Pujols said. "I went (to the museum) with a friend, and he had to walk out of the room because he almost started crying."


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