After seeing 42, I heard and read too many good things about Opening Day to resist it, and I'm glad I didn't. It is the perfect antidote to the sappy pablum of 42, and I can't imagine another Robinson book being better than this one.
The pregame ritual happened every spring between 1951 and 1956. I bounded down the stairs of my family's two-flat in Brooklyn, a leather mitt covering my left hand, and excitedly knocked on my grandparents' door. Ready to go, Pop?
I'm glad that a whole new generation will be inspired by Robinson, who first inspired me more than 60 years ago when I was a boy heading to Ebbets Field with my father to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers face the New York Yankees in the World Series.
We might characterize her ongoing work, including her role as a consultant for 42, as advancing the legacy of her heroic husband. But Jackie Robinson would no doubt be the first to remind us that his legacy is also Rachel's.
In telling Robinson's story, Helgeland doesn't dwell on the endless barrage of racist bile that Robinson (and his wife) endured, but he doesn't shy from it either. As a result, Robinson's achievement takes on more meaning and more power.
To the end of his life, Robinson insisted that he never had it made. He'd likely say the same today. That's the Robinson that baseball, and much of America, has forgotten. 42 tells only part of his story.