Baseball, baseball and more baseball; during my first week at WHUT Howard University Television station I was overwhelmed with discussion of the history of baseball and Ken Burns. The PBS household name is soon to release a new documentary entitled “The Tenth Inning.”
The documentary is a new dynamic exploration of baseball. However with the sport no longer considered “America’s past time”; Who will watch?
Especially in urban areas like Washington, DC; where sports like football and basketball are more popular.
Despite the current unpopularity amongst the younger generation DC has a rich baseball history. A legacy thats extends from Griffin Stadium to Nationals Stadium.
Griffin Stadium was an vital part of the Washington, DC community from 1911 to 1965. Games at the stadium were traditionally opened with U.S. Presidents pitching the first ball. In 2008 when Nationals Park officially opened a new tradition and legacy of baseball was restored. However beyond major league home plates DC has an untold baseball oral history.
Some stories include tributes within the Negro League; while other stories explore how baseball changed lives, how it enriched communities and how it continues to leave its mark on local history. In an effort to publicize “The Tenth Inning” WHUT launched a campaign encouraging members of the DC community to tell their stories. Individuals could visit the station or other partner events to have their testimony’s recorded.
This oral history project is essential to WHUT’s continued commitment to being the voice of their viewers. Projects like this remind the community that they are valued, which makes them more invested in the station.
At the Batter-Up Baseball event community members were able to add their voice to the conversation. Council member Harry Thomas is one of the extraordinary people that participated in the oral history project.
Eddie Smith, DCIAA baseball coach has a unique story as a former baseball player and now a baseball coach.
The Baseball Oral History testimonies will be broadcast at a the WHUT family event October 3, 2010 in the WHUT production studio. The event is free to the public.