The Weekender | January 3rd - 5th

This week, we look at baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, GoPro skiing and Jay-Z's Magna Carta.

The Weekender

The Weekender is your guide and open thread for the weekend, presented by the fine folks at Viva The Matadors. Things to quote, read, look, watch, and listen to for the weekend. Let's do this.

Another weekend and this weekend feels a bit better with a Holiday Bowl win under the belt of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. It's funny how sports can affect you like that. I'm pretty sure I was in a funk, but after that win, I felt much better about things.

This week, we look at baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, GoPro skiing and Jay-Z's Magna Carta.

Quote

Roberto Clemente: "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."

John Sayles on Roberto Clemente: "What was incredible about Clemente was not only how skilled he was at each part of the game, but this kind of ferocity that he played with on each play of the game — even in years when they were pitiful and they had no chance to get into the pennant or anything like that. He would throw it in, he would pick guys off who got a single who took too much of a turn going around first; there was just something intense about this guy that was not necessarily what was going on in Baseball at that moment."

Read

It's amazing when older people talk about Roberto Clemente. My dad speaks of him with reverence and I found that odd because I don't know who Clemente really was as a person because Clemente died at the tender age of 38. Way too young.

This is one of those times where I have tried to figure out the mystery on my own. I don't know Clemente, I was born three years after Clemente died, so there's no recollection of Clemente as a player or anything else. Like a lot of things in life, sports tends to transcend color and race and hateful things. A person who is great at sports, and is Latin or black or both, can transcend the game. Children and adults don't see color, they just see something absolutely beautiful. So I think it started with Clemente being a beautiful baseball player.

Clemente also had the privilege of being both Latin and black, something that was probably difficult for America to accept on some level in the 1950's and 1960's, a critical time in the Civil Rights movement. The thing that I've learned about Clemente is that he was very much his own person. He wasn't a robot and just spit out what he was supposed to say as an athlete. He was an outspoken black Latin when maybe that wasn't the best thing for him. But he did. In watching things about Clemente over the years, the beat reporters that covered Clemente when he first arrived in Pittsburgh would literally quote his broken English. For example, as opposed to writing the phrase "hit the ball" they would type out the word "heet da bol". Pretty awesome right? And this was apparently a regular occurrence and something that Clemente wouldn't stand for. He would stand up for himself and that probably riled up the beat reporters more than they would ever want. They would also call him "Bob" and he made it very clear that he wasn't "Bob", he was Roberto. I think the world would be a better place if we made every person who called himself "Bob" to "Roberto". There's also the aspect of the fight between the reporters who refused to adhere to Clemente's request and continued to write "Bob", even into the 1970's.

The other interesting thing about Clemente was his injury issues. When asked how he was doing, he would tell you each and every ailment and that was something that the press and sometimes his teammates didn't understand. If Clemente wasn't fully healthy, he didn't play. This was apparently a big issue, but someway, somehow, Clemente finished with 3,000 hits being all sorts of injured.

Clemente was from Puerto Rico, which as you all know, is an unincorporated territory of the United Sates. Clemente was also a Marine, joining the reserves in the 1950's. He was and is a hero in Latin American, especially his home of Puerto Rico. He is a legend and a hero. Clemente died in a plane crash where he was taking supplies to Nicaragua to help with a devastating earthquake. Apparently Clemente sent the first three planes with supplies and they were taken by corrupt officials, so he hoped on the 4th plane himself. That planed crashed shortly after takeoff and they never found the body of Clemente. There was a story about how one of his Pittsburgh teammates went to the funeral and spent his team at the beach looking for Clemente or his body.

Clemente was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame just a short time after he died, by special ballot. Most baseball player aren't even eligible until 5 years after they retired and there were only two times that this special ballot occurred, Clemente and Lou Gehrig.

Here are some links on Clemente:

* Wikipedia (Obviously a ton of references here)
* ESPN's Sports Century via YouTubeworldwo
* Biography
* OTL | 3,000 Hits. Three Bats. One Enduring Mystery
* NY Times Obituary

Look

Well, these are some awesome images, via The Atlantic:

Launched in 1997, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spent seven years traveling to Saturn before spending the past nine-and-a-half years orbiting the massive planet, making scientific observations and returning thousands of gorgeous otherworldly images. Saturn has more than 150 known moons and the most spectacular ring system of any of our neighboring planets. Its varied satellites include massive Titan, with a thick atmosphere and lakes of liquid ethane; icy Enceladus, spewing jets of water ice far into space; and two-toned Iapetus, with a mysterious equatorial ridge of mountains. Today, on the last day of the year, I thought it would be nice to look back on some of my favorite images from Cassini over the years, as we approach a decade of orbits next summer.

Watch

As you all know, VTM is the unofficial place for GoPro videos. So, I bring to you some first person video of some guy skiing his tail off and jumping and occasionally laughing as he’s flying down a mountain. I have skied enough times to know that I would have smashed into a handful of trees attempting do that, not just the one tree at the end of the video (everyone was okay).

Pretty awesome stuff.

Listen

I am not, what you might call, remotely hip. I’m just not. I’m totally comfortable with that. Since I’ve decided to write this sort of post, I’ve done my best to be more well-rounded and I had been looking at a lot of "Best of 2013" type of music posts and almost invariably at the top of the list was Jay-Z’s Magna Carta. To be honest, I had never listened to a second of this album and it’s not like this came out yesterday. So I spent the morning listening to the entire album. My verdict? Jay-Z is crazy talented and it is a freaking fantastic album. Just terrific. I don’t listen to hip-hop on a regular basis, but I think I can recognize greatness and I think this qualifies. If you listen, there is use of the N-word. As a white guy with a black son, I’m not sure how this conversation is going to go down in 15 years when Fitsum is old enough to use that word. This is the wrong forum here on VTM to have the discussion, but I did want to give you a heads up about the use of it in the audio.

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