Monday, June 17, 2013

"The Neighborhoods of Baseball" Symposium, Saturday, June 22, 2013, Los Angeles, CA

If you are in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 22, please join Kerry Yo Nakagawa and Bill Staples, Jr., of the Nisei Baseball Research Project at this special one-day event. It is free and open to the public.

DOWNLOAD: Bill Staples' Presentation (5MB, PDF)

“THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF BASEBALL” SYMPOSIUM

The Baseball Reliquary, in conjunction with the Latino Baseball History Project and Plaza de la Raza, will sponsor a day-long symposium, "The Neighborhoods of Baseball," on Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The symposium will include a variety of thematic panel discussions designed to document and interpret the role that amateur, semi-professional, and professional baseball has played in the history and development of the Mexican American, Japanese American, and African American communities of Southern California.

The symposium, which is open to the public and free of charge, will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031.



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Full Press Release:

“THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF BASEBALL” SYMPOSIUM TO FEATURE PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Date & Times: Saturday, June 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Location: Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Information: (626) 791-7647 or terymar@earthlink.net
Directions/Parking: (626) 993-4094

            The Baseball Reliquary, in conjunction with the Latino Baseball History Project and Plaza de la Raza, will sponsor a day-long symposium, “The Neighborhoods of Baseball,” on Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The symposium will include a variety of thematic panel discussions designed to document and interpret the role that amateur, semi-professional, and professional baseball has played in the history and development of the Mexican American, Japanese American, and African American communities of Southern California.
            Organized by Baseball Reliquary Executive Director Terry Cannon, and Latino Baseball History Project advisers Tomas Benitez and Richard Santillan, “The Neighborhoods of Baseball” will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031.  The symposium is open to the public and free of charge.  A box lunch will be available at nominal cost to all attendees.
            Three panel discussions will feature themes that have been explored over the years through programs, exhibitions, and books sponsored by the Latino Baseball History Project, but the symposium will offer a broader, cross-cultural perspective on how the Mexican American, Japanese American, and African American communities of Southern California were impacted by baseball; how their experiences differed and paralleled each other in the development of their communities and identities; how they engaged and interacted with each other through the lens of community baseball; and how baseball was a factor in defining identity (including gender issues and attitudes) and the process of Americanization.
            The three panel discussions will explore the impact of baseball in terms of “Community & Identity Building,” “The Players’ Perspective,” and “Labor Relations.”  Following the three panels will be a wrapup roundtable discussion looking at “Future Possibilities for Research.”  Panel/discussion moderators will be Jorge Iber, Professor of History and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Tech University; Samuel O. Regalado, Professor of History, California State University, Stanislaus; Mark Ocegueda, PhD student in History, University of California, Irvine; and Richard Santillan, Professor Emeritus, Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  As of this date, confirmed panelists/speakers include Cesar Caballero, Margaret Villa Cryan, Christopher Docter, Alice Gomez, Daryl Grigsby, Bob Lagunas, Susan Luevano, Kerry Yo Nakagawa, Al Padilla, Armando Perez, Bill Staples, Bobby Umemoto, and Sandra Uribe.  Additional panelists may be announced shortly.
            The festivities will begin at 9:00 a.m. with welcoming remarks from Cesar Caballero, Dean of the John M. Pfau Library at California State University, San Bernardino, home base for the Latino Baseball History Project.  Dean Caballero will be followed by Dr. Samuel O. Regalado, author of Viva Baseball! Latin Major Leaguers and Their Special Hunger and Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues, who will deliver the symposium’s keynote address.
            Following the panels and roundtable discussion, the day’s festivities will conclude with a book signing between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., featuring several of the author/historians present.  Richard Santillan, co-author of all three Arcadia books published in conjunction with the Latino Baseball History Project – Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles, Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire, and Mexican American Baseball in Orange County – will sign copies along with his fellow authors.
            For additional information on “The Neighborhoods of Baseball” Symposium, please contact Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.  For directions and parking information, contact Tomas Benitez by phone at (626) 993-4094.
            “The Neighborhoods of Baseball” Symposium is made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  For more information, visit www.calhum.org.  The symposium is also made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bodhisattva at Bat: Baseball as Buddhist Practice for Kenichi Zenimura

I recently had the good fortune of presenting at a Buddhist conference comprised on both scholars and practitioners. Here's the official conference info:

The Pure Land in Buddhist Cultures: History, Image, Praxis, Thought (Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, 2013) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The event served a dual purpose as The 3rd Annual Conference of the Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program and the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies (IASBS).



And here's an abstract of my paper/presentation:

“Bodhisattva at Bat: Baseball as Buddhist Practice for Kenichi Zenimura”
Kenichi Zenimura (1900-1968) is recognized as “The Father of Japanese American Baseball” for his legacy as a player, manager and international ambassador. He was also a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist. During WWII he was among the 120,000 people of Japanese Ancestry sent to internment camps by the U.S. government. Behind barbed wire at Gila River, AZ, he constructed a ball field and organized leagues that gave his fellow internees a sense of hope and normalcy. In describing Coach Zeni one of his players said, “He indeed possessed a tremendous knowledge of baseball savvy, but above all, he wanted every player to become a better human being by realizing his responsibility and compassion for his fellow man.” For Zenimura, baseball was more than just a game – it was how he knew best to bring happiness into the lives of others, break down barriers to foster peace and understanding, and to minimize suffering in the world. This paper will reflect upon Zenimura’s career and demonstrate how he used the game of baseball as a vehicle for Buddhist practice.



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I met a lot of wonderful people, many of whom asked where they could learn more and purchase the Zenimura book. With that, I'd like to offer a special price on the book for conference attendees.

Special Offer for 2013 Pure Land Conference Attendees
Special pricing and shipping for residents of U.S., Canada and Japan.
$23.99 USD + Shipping

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And here's more information on the book for those conference attendees who did not get a chance to attend the session.

Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer
Bill Staples, Jr.
Foreword by Don Wakamatsu

McFarland, 2011
Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6134-9
75 photos, appendices, notes, glossary, bibliography, index
282pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2011

About the Book
While the story of the Negro Leagues has been well documented, few baseball fans know about the Japanese American Nisei Leagues, or of their most influential figure, Kenichi Zenimura (1900-1968). A talented player who excelled at all nine positions, Zenimura was also a respected manager and would become the Japanese American community’s baseball ambassador. He worked tirelessly to promote the game at home and abroad, leading goodwill trips to Asia, helping to negotiate tours of Japan by Negro League All-Stars and Babe Ruth, and establishing a 32-team league behind the barbed wire of Arizona’s Gila River Internment Camp during World War II. This first biography of the "Father of Japanese-American Baseball" delivers a thorough and fascinating account of Zenimura’s life.

**Award Winner Winner, SABR Baseball Research Award**

About the Author
Bill Staples, Jr., is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), a board member of the Nisei Baseball Research Project, and a past speaker at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He lives in Chandler, Arizona.

About McFarland
McFarland is a leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books. McFarland is especially known for covering topics of popular appeal in a serious and scholarly fashion, and for going to great lengths to manufacture our books to the highest standards and library specifications (both print  and ebook). Many of them have received awards as outstanding reference or academic titles. McFarland is recognized for serious works in a variety of fields, including pop culture, sports, military history and transportation, among other topics.

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Once again, it was a pleasure meeting everyone at this fascinating and informative conference and I look forward to the next time we meet again. If you need to contact me for any reason, here's my info -- phone: 602-614-0538 or email billstaplesjr[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks.

p.s. Don't forget to vote for Zenimura for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Buck O'Neil Award. 

p.p.s. Many people have asked where they can learn more about Japanese American Baseball. The following are excellent resources/materials.


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Websites

Nisei Baseball Research Project

The Densho Project (archive of internment materials)

Children's Books

Baseball Saved Us

Barbed Wire Baseball

A Diamond in the Desert

Film

Motion Picture

American Pastime

Documentary

Diamonds in the rough: The legacy of Japanese American Baseball (DVD)

TV Asahi Japan (2011)

NHK Japan (2011)
(Archive: right column, 4th from bottom)
(Zenimura details)

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