Sox excited to host 2013 Civil Rights game

Sox excited to host 2013 Civil Rights game
April 2, 2013, 6:00 pm
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CHICAGO -- While the White Sox are excited to host the 2013 Civil Rights Game, they’re equally pleased to pass along the contest’s message.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball and the club announced that the White Sox will host the Civil Rights Game on Aug. 24 against the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field.

Now in its seventh year, the game aims to keep the Civil Rights Movement “alive and moving forward,” said Frank Robinson, MLB Executive Vice President of Player Development.

The game concludes a two-day even that includes a Baseball and the Civil Rights Movement roundtable discussion, and awards luncheon and a youth clinic. The White Sox hope Chicago’s part in the game raises awareness that the Civil Rights Movement is alive and well.

“I hope that people start to begin to recognize that Civil Rights is not something of the past, that is something that is continuous,” White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams said. “It is something that is evolving to the degree that there are still fights for Civil Rights in many different avenues of our life. You can look at the pages of our politics and what’s being fought for in Congress right now and the Supreme Court and you can see that there are still limitations on people’s Civil Rights. So, I think a blend of where we’ve been and where we still need to go is the right recipe and I think we are going to achieve that through our roundtable.”

Atlanta hosted the event the past two seasons after Cincinnati held it in 2009 and 2010. The game originated as an exhibition in 2007 in Memphis, Tenn. and was played there for two seasons before it became a regular season game in 2009.

But in an attempt to keep the contest from growing “stale,” MLB wants to move the game annually, though Robinson said Chicago could get the chance to host again in 2014.

When he learned MLB intended to move the event, Williams immediately volunteered the White Sox as a host, Robinson said. The city’s diversity and owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s history of hiring minorities for high-profile jobs and his team’s community outreach programs made it an easy choice for the White Sox to host, Robinson said.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous boost to the Civil Rights game,” Robinson said.

Reinsdorf said his impetus for hosting the event is he believes the movement has been forgotten and MLB has a chance to help it be remembered.

The White Sox have twice before played in the Civil Rights Game.

Reinsdorf said he realized how far removed society is from the movement when he realized his team’s oldest player at the time, Jim Thome, was born after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Reinsdorf wants his organization to take advantage of its ability to reach a larger audience to promote Civil Rights.

“I’ve always felt when you own a sports team you have an obligation and an opportunity to do the right thing,” Reinsdorf said. “We take so much out of the community and we should give back. But the most important thing is we can do so much more than ordinary citizens and ordinary companies because of the attention we’re getting. If U.S. Cellular calls a press conference we don’t get all you guys showing up. But if baseball does, everybody shows up and it’ll get on the air so we have the opportunity to do more than the average business and we enjoy doing it. It’s just the right thing.”