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Civil Rights Game

Major League Baseball will implement a very good idea during the next year.

Major league baseball will pay tribute to the civil rights movement with an exhibition game between the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians in Memphis, Tenn., on March 31.

The game will be played at the home of the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate and raise money for the National Civil Rights Museum, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Negro Leagues Museum and Memphis charities.

With the game, which would be repeated annually, baseball officials hope to attract more young blacks to the sport.

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The Indians, who made Larry Doby the AL's first black player and Frank Robinson the first black manager in baseball, hadn't planned to make any barnstorming stops between the end of spring training and the start of the regular season. But GM Mark Shapiro said he didn't hesitate when the commissioner's office suggested the game.

The decline in the number of U.S. born black players in professional baseball is a shame.  Hopefully by holding this game every year and the continued work of players such as our own Dontrelle Willis it will turn this most unfortunate situation around.

Even if it doesn't, it is an event worthy of distinction.