Baseball purveyors and enthusiasts would have you look away from the sport's current state and instead focus on the glory years. Look at Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, they say, and at a time when the game wasn't marred by steroids, strikes and the perils of guaranteed contracts. That's baseball. True, the years between 1920 to 1960 may indeed have been baseball's most glorious. But Major League Baseball -- back then, at least -- was essentially white America's pastime. Running parallel to the majors were the Negro Leagues, comprising teams that often took the nickname of a city's team and added "black" to their monikers -- like the New York Black Yankees.
This weekend's "Black Baseball: A History of the Negro Leagues" at the MFAH will feature a talk by filmmaker-musician Byron Motley, creator of the new PBS documentaryThe Negro Leagues -- An American Legacy. Motley grew up listening to stories his dad, Bob, would tell of his days as a Negro League umpire from 1949 to 1956. The younger Motley shares insights from his father and other surviving Negro League players at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16. Caroline Wiess Law Building, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
The City of Houston Underwater Mariners group describes itself as "a drinking club with a diving problem," and since its acronym is the most common name for shark bait, it's hard not to be a little concerned for their safety. Not only does the group dive together, "we talk about diving all the time," says CHUM member Roger Veteto. And they meet up once a month to "catch up on the drinking part." Curious to see how the seafarers handle their grog? Clink glasses with them on Thursday at the Stag's Head, where you can chat with members and listen in on a detailed (and very necessary, apparently) lecture on hyperbaric medicine (that's scuba first aid to you, landlubber). 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16. 2128 Portsmouth, 713-533-1199. For information, visit www.chumclub.org. Free. -- Scott Faingold