Yankees Center Fielder Jacoby Ellsbury Donates copy Million to OSU


Indian Country Today



Jacoby Ellsbury’s name will go down in history. Not as the greatest Native baseball player to ever play the game, (and perhaps it will) but in a more personal way.

The Yankee’s center fielder donated copy million to his alma mater. According to an Oregon State press release, Ellsbury, who is Navajo and Colorado River Indian tribes, made the donation to expand the baseball team’s locker room facilities.

“OSU Baseball has given me so much,” Ellsbury told OregonLive.com. “I am thrilled I am able to help my alma mater carry on its proud tradition; and perhaps, this expansion will convince a few more Pacific Northwest recruits to wear OSU orange and black.”

OSU also plans to name its locker room facilities after the former Beaver.

RELATED Jacoby Ellsbury, Greatest Native Player in Baseball, Signs With Yankees

Goss Stadium is in need of a few updates, including its overall infrastructure. The project is expected to cost $2.8 million and the enhancements are for the locker room, equipment room, a team meeting space and a new recruiting area. Ellsbury’s contribution accounts for 1/3 of the cost, SBNation.com says.

“We are tremendously thankful,” coach Pat Casey said in the release. “Great facilities are at the core of great programs, and with Jacoby’s generous gift we will be able to continue to offer our student-athletes a world-class experience.”

“Oregon State is where I got my start,” Ellsbury said. “It’s where I learned — from Coach Casey, teammates, and assistant coaches — how to be a successful athlete, a successful person. For that, I am forever grateful.”


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/06/08/yankees-center-fielder-jacoby-ellsbury-donates-1-million-osu-155206

Spokane Indians baseball uniforms sport Salish word

By Jim Kershner, The Spokesman-Review

Beginning in the 2014 season, the Spokane Indians baseball team will sport the team name in Salish on home jerseys.
Beginning in the 2014 season, the Spokane Indians baseball team will sport the team name in Salish on home jerseys.

When the Spokane Indians baseball players take the field this summer, the team name will be blazoned across their chests: “Sp’q’n’i.”

That’s the Spokane Salish language version of the name. On opening day, June 13, this Short Season Class A minor league baseball team will become the first-ever professional baseball team to use a Native American language in this way.

The jersey is the fruit of an unusual collaboration between a team and a tribe. Unusual, because in several high-profile examples – the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, to name two – the issue of Indian-related team names and mascots has generated more controversy than collaboration. In Cleveland, the “Chief Wahoo” mascot has been derided as a demeaning cartoon; in Washington, D.C., the team name has been derided as just plain racist.

In Spokane – or should we say Sp’q’n’i – both the tribe and its namesake team have worked hard in recent decades to establish the name Spokane Indians as a tribute, as opposed to just a mascot. In 2006, the tribe helped to create new circular team logo, with words written in the Salish language. This year, the tribe worked with the team in creating the new Sp’q’n’i jersey, and supplied the team with an accurate rendering of the word (which also includes a final symbol not found in the English alphabet).

Both Rudy Peone, chairman of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and Otto Klein, senior vice president of the Spokane Indians baseball team, are acutely aware of how sensitive these issues can be. That’s why the two institutions have developed a collaboration.

“The team, the name, it’s not named for a vague group,” said Peone. “… This is the Spokane Indians, named specifically for our tribe. We’ve accepted that and have a very close working relationship, in a respectful way.”

“We work with them, not against them,” Klein said. “We meet with the tribal chairman each year and say, ‘What have we done to promote the tribe, and what can we do?’ “

Barry Moses, a Spokane Tribe member who teaches Salish language classes at the Salish School of Spokane, has mixed feelings about it.

“On the one hand, Indian mascots in general are problematic and troublesome,” Moses said. “But it is a positive thing that they reached out to the tribe. It’s also a positive thing that it will give the Salish language wider representation in the culture.”

Peone believes this is the first time a professional baseball team has used a native language in this way on a uniform.

“There have been Native American teams that have done it, but, yes, this is the first time that we know of that a professional team has done so,” said Peone.

Meanwhile, the baseball team is working on giving Salish an even higher profile throughout Avista Stadium. Many of the signs in the park will be in both English and Salish. The team is also expanding its existing historical exhibit about the tribe, and moving it to more prominent positions around the park. The game jerseys themselves will be auctioned off at the end of the season, and proceeds will go to tribal youth programs.

Klein said he thinks local fans will quickly grasp the meaning and significance of the name. But what about visiting fans from out of town? Might they be confused about that word on the front of the uniforms? Klein said the section leaders will have information cards about the name and they will be happy to use the question as a “conversation piece” about the team’s 100-plus year tribal connection.

The preservation of the Salish language is particularly close to the hearts of many tribal members, because, as the decades go by, fewer and fewer people are fluent in the Spokane dialect of Salish. Peone called the new jerseys a way to “educate thousands of baseball fans about the language and culture” of the city’s first inhabitants.

Many Northwest tribes shared the Salish language, yet many had their own distinct dialect. In Moses’ estimation, there are only five or six fluent Spokane Salish speakers left, most of them elderly. However, there has been a recent resurgence of interest among younger generations. The Salish School of Spokane even has full-immersion Salish preschool.

The team won’t be able to wear the jerseys in every home game – at least not this year. The baseball team originally hoped the new Salish jerseys could be their everyday 2014 home jerseys. However, the team didn’t get the designs submitted to the league office before the deadline, so the Sp’q’n’i jerseys can only be used as “alternate” jerseys in 2014, which means they can be worn in under half of the home games. Klein said the team will wear them at most of 2014’s “biggest” home games, including Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, and also at the home opener. Then, in 2015, the Sp’q’n’i jerseys will be the primary home jerseys.

Klein said the collaboration has given his team a unique identity, steeped in history.

“We truly found our identity when we came up with that logo,” he said, referring to the 2006 Salish language logo. “We truly found our home.”

Klein said that, in recent years, the team has not received any kind of “flak” about its name. Yet Peone is certainly aware that there are “folks sensitive to the mascot issue.” The American Indian Movement’s National Coalition on Racism in Sport and Media has issued the following statement about Indian-themed sports mascots in general: “American Indians are a People. Not mascots for America’s fun and games.”

The coalition decries the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo, the “tomahawk chop” and the name Washington Redskins. Yet there is no consensus on this complicated issue, as evidenced by the fact that the sports teams at Wellpinit High School, the main high school on the Spokane Reservation, are named the Redskins.

The Spokane Indians baseball team does not use an Indian-costumed mascot. The team’s mascot is Otto, a bright blue “reptile with style.” Nor does the team lead its fans in the tomahawk chop. To Peone, the use of the Salish language in the logo and jerseys makes the Spokane Indians “more than a mascot.” He said the tribe has been generally supportive of the partnership because of the way in which it kas been done.

Meanwhile, the unique Sp’q’n’i jerseys may prove to be a big hit at the merchandise store – although Klein said that was certainly not the team’s motivation. A portion of those proceeds, too, will go toward tribal youth programs.

Retired educator hit it out of the park


By Julie Muhlstein, The Herald

In 1945, a pro baseball relief pitcher who also played first base earned $29 a month — if that player was a woman.

“I made money to go to college,” Dorothy Roth said. “I was the youngest one on the team.”

At 86, Roth now lives at Grandview Village, a Marysville retirement community. On Wednesday, she shared long-ago memories of her one season with the National Girls Baseball League. She also has a fun new memory.

On a whirlwind trip to Olympia Tuesday, Roth met Gov. Jay Inslee, and even sat in the governor’s chair. During a surprise presentation, she was awarded the Washington Health Care Association’s first-ever Silver Spotlight Award. The agency is an advocacy group for the state’s assisted-living facilities.

She was Dorothy Wright, fresh out of high school, when in 1945 she joined a team called the Bloomer Girls. Emery Parichy, co-founder of the National Girls Baseball League, bought the Boston Bloomer Girls in the 1930s and built Parichy Stadium in the Chicago suburb of Forest Park, Ill. That’s where Roth played.

“We wore big satin bloomers, and satin shirts,” she said Wednesday. “It was hot, standing out in that field.”

Presenting the award, Inslee noted Roth’s “outstanding contributions as an athlete and as an educator for 30 years in public schools.”

“You look to me like you’ve still got game,” Inslee told Roth, a retired schoolteacher. After Roth autographed a bat Inslee had once used in a congressional baseball game, the governor quipped that “the value of this bat just went up 100 times.”

Inslee proclaimed Jan. 7, 2014, to be “Dorothy Roth Day.”

“The award was a surprise. It was awesome,” Roth said at Grandview Village, where on Wednesday state Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, stopped by to congratulate her.

“It’s great that the state is recognizing our elders,” McCoy said. “I enjoyed the movie ‘A League of Their Own.’ When Dorothy came into baseball, those girls were ahead of their time. They began paving the way for Title IX.

It was Title IX, part of the Education Amendment of 1972, that opened doors for girls to have equal opportunities in school sports programs. “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie about women’s baseball teams during World War II, depicts the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a league similar to Roth’s.

Herald readers were introduced to Roth in July. Andrea Brown’s article in the Vitality section featured the former ballplayer. It told how Grandview Village residents, wearing “Team Dorothy” shirts, were going to see Roth throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game.

Did she get it over the plate? “Close to it,” Roth said Wednesday.

In her long life, baseball was just one season. Roth did spend her baseball earnings on college. She attended Cornell College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Northern Illinois University. She earned a master’s degree and met her future husband, Al Roth. He would go on to be a city manager in Crystal Lake, Ill., and North Bend, Ore. Roth, who was widowed about three years ago, has a daughter and a son.

Her daughter, Holly Leach, is superintendent of Northshore Christian Academy in south Everett. Leach joked Wednesday that her parents were the first reality TV stars. They were married Sept. 1, 1952, on a TV show in New York called “Bride and Groom.” They applied out of financial need, and were amazed to be chosen, Roth said. Prizes included a free wedding and a honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains.

Brenda Orffer, the Washington Health Care Association’s senior director of member services, said the organization will give Silver Spotlight awards monthly through 2014. The agency represents 450 assisted-living facilities around Washington.

The new award program is aimed at honoring seniors who have made contributions in many walks of life. It’s also meant to highlight positive aspects of long-term care. “How many other elders are out there like Dorothy?” McCoy asked.

Is Roth still a baseball fan?

“I used to root for the Chicago Cubs,” she said. “I’m into the Seahawks now.”