Just in time for the baseball season...
March 21, 2015 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Baseball behind barbed wire The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain in thirteen games to win the series. The players described it as exhilarating. But the players taking part in this all-American pastime did so in dire circumstances. Gila River and Heart Mountain were both Japanese incarceration camps (previously known as internment camps), and these athletes were among the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans imprisoned there.
posted by dfm500 (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We have a team photo in our living room with my wife's grandfather and uncle at the camps just like the one in this article. I'll have to look up the details when I get a chance.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2015

The guards took one team to the other camp so they could play, right? And then took them back again after?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2015

I'd say that "concentration camp" is technically the right term, although the Nazis broke that one by using that as a euphemism for their death camps. My wife's parents and grandparents were imprisoned in Heart Mountain camp during WWII. If you knew them you'd know how unfair and pointless this whole excercise was: locking up a crowd of peaceful Buddhist farmers and their children, all loyal US citizens and not any kind of threat. Most families lost their farms because of this, and had to start again after the war in other professions.
posted by w0mbat at 1:17 PM on March 21, 2015

I'd say that "concentration camp" is technically the right term,

, the Japanese American Legacy Project, is calling for the use of incarceration camp for reasons they lay out here. I expect that's where Smithsonian picked up the new nomenclature.
posted by BWA at 2:27 PM on March 21, 2015

"incarceration" makes sense. I just can't go along with concentration camp, because of the Nazis' use of the word. But certainly "incarceration" is better than "internment."
posted by etaoin at 6:29 PM on March 21, 2015

I visited Manzanar a few years ago and stood on one of the baseball diamonds there, desert wind whipping, sun shining mercilessly, Sierras as backdrop, fighting back tears.

A little while later, standing in front of the famous cemetery monument (see Ansel Adams' photographs) covered with numerous paper cranes and rocks and coins, I found there was a smaller memorial nearby dedicated to the camp's pets who had died. I stopped trying to fight back the tears.

You find that the desert wind dries the moisture on your cheeks quick, but it does nothing to stop your heart breaking.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:39 PM on March 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

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