On Tuesday July 15, 2014, millions of Americans witnessed a celebration of America, when Major League Baseball held its 85th midsummer classic—the MLB All-Star Game. Last year’s All-Star Game was a celebration of baseball as the American Pastime, at a time when Major League Baseball is enjoying the utmost in prosperity and labor peace. And, true to its history, MLB used its opportunity to celebrate the successes of others along with its own.
Of course, the Game marked the yearly gathering of current Baseball greats from the Americas: Kershaw, Puig, Trout, and Cabrera, to name just a few—including four stars—Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, Aramis Ramirez, and Francisco Rodriguez—from our own great city.
Last year’s Game was marked by spectacular events, and by lifetime achievements. It was the final All-Star appearance as a player by an American Baseball Hero, Derek Jeter. From the beginning this was Derek Jeter’s night, and he did not disappoint, turning in a two-hit game while receiving multiple standing ovations—from fans, teammates, and opponents. Last year’s Game also marked the last year for one of the greatest commissioners of all time in any sport, Bud Selig.
However, this All-Star Game was about more than just baseball. And last year MLB outdid itself. MLB celebrated not just its own successes and its own Baseball Heroes; MLB also celebrated the successes of America, and of American Heroes that are much more fundamental and vital to our country—America’s Teachers.
The Target and People Magazine All-Star Teachers’ Campaign was a highlight of the evening. By giving our teachers the red carpet treatment, Major League Baseball reminded America of the sheer importance of teachers in the American way of life, of the difference that teachers make in America, and that educators shape our future.
MLB chose to share its platform and take the opportunity to shine a bright light on the contributions that teachers make to our children. This should come as no surprise, as MLB has repeatedly made extraordinary philanthropic efforts during Bud Selig’s tenure to promote the greater good. The 2013 World Series games marked the fifth year of MLB using the World Series as a platform to highlight a variety of community and global initiatives, including Welcome Back Veterans, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity and the first-ever Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Scouting Showcase. Because of this outreach, Major League Baseball has truly become a social institution.
While the players out on the field are American Baseball Heroes, it is truly the educators of young minds that are the role models that should be emulated. A good educator can inspire hope, light up bright minds, and instill a love of learning. We all need to remember that teachers are classroom All-Stars that make all the difference in the lives of students and their communities.
The 79 players named to the 85th game represented a congregation of international diversity, and some of the highest paid employees in all of America, and we gladly celebrate their rare and unique talents.
But we should also remember that John F. Kennedy once said:
“Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.”
The most highly compensated people in America should be our teachers because they are the most important to our future. It is to the Major League Baseball’s credit that, on All-Star night, Teachers shared the stage with professional athletes.
In all of the years of momentous sporting events, MLB knocked this All-Star game out of the park by honoring our nation’s true heroes, our Teachers.