Strike Three: Major League Baseball’s Sordid Romance with Race-Baiting Politics
My passion for professional baseball began when I was ten. In 1954, my parents signed me up for a Little League team at the U.S. Air Force base in Wiesbaden, West Germany. The six teams in the league were named after major league teams back in America.
I ended up on the team named after the Brooklyn Dodgers. With my interest in big league baseball piqued, I made a Dodgers scrapbook of articles cut from the U.S. military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. The first clipping in my scrapbook was the line score of Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, between the Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
In 1957, I mailed the scrapbook to the Dodgers shortly before the team moved to Los Angeles. A few weeks later, it was returned to me with signatures of every player on the team, including legendary baseballers Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Tommy LaSorda, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres, the ’55 World Series MVP who pitched a 2-0 shutout of the Yankees in the deciding game.
When the signed scrapbook arrived, I was hooked on major league baseball. In short order, I’d learned the names of the top players of every major league team. Over the years ahead, I watched a ton of baseball, mostly on TV. Watching games was a relaxing pastime that took my mind away from the inevitable anxieties of life, things like worrying about my grades at Georgia Tech, health setbacks, the Cold War and Wall Street bear markets. Later on, baseball helped distract me, at least in brief increments, from the indescribable emotional pain of losing the only woman I ever loved to suicide. At points in my life when my mind needed a short time out, turning on the TV and watching some baseball was just what the doctor ordered.
For 65 years, I was a major league fan of major league baseball. But as of last week, that all changed, and I will never again follow the sport. MLB’s woke owners drove me away.
I don’t watch baseball—or any sport—to have moralizing political lectures rammed down my throat. Yet that is now the order of the day, not only in the NFL and the NBA, but in major league baseball as well, where filthy rich franchise owners are falling all over themselves kowtowing to Black Lives Matter, a Marxist political organization that hijacked the noble cause of racial justice as a fig leaf to disguise its profoundly un-American ideology.
At the 2020 Season Opener between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees, every player and every coach was told to kneel prior to the National Anthem.
Players and coaches held a 200-feet long strip of black cloth to symbolically affirm that black lives matter. Of course, black lives matter. What sane person thinks otherwise?The league-wide pandering to race-baiting politics was on full display in Florida, where Stuart Sternberg, the virtue-signaling owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, dedicated his team’s opener to the memory of Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed by police last March in what her family described as a botched drug raid. Sternberg tweeted, “…it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.”
Does the Rays’s owner have evidence that Taylor was killed because she was black? Whites and Hispanics also are killed in drug raids gone wrong, but nobody talks about that.
Sternberg ordered the letters BLM stenciled on the pitcher’s mound, and announced that players can wear batting practice T-shirts and uniform patches emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter.” Would he allow his players to wear apparel with a conservative political message, say, for example, “Stop killing unborn babies”? No, he wouldn’t. Would he ever tweet a tribute to the nation’s 700,000 law enforcement officers who risk their lives 24/7/365 going into crime-ridden urban neighborhoods to protect innocent black citizens from rape, robbery, assault, illegal drugs, domestic violence, child trafficking, car-jacking and drive-by shootings? No, he wouldn’t do that either, because he has no spine.
Jumping into racial politics with both feet, the Rays’s self-righteous owner posted a tweet declaring that “Systemic racism is real.” The posting includes BLM artwork with the raised fist, one of the most prominent symbols of the call for world communism.
I challenge Mr. Sternberg to cite a contemporary example of “systemic racism,” which rears its antiquated head every election cycle to inflame black voters. There sure as hell is no “systemic racism” in major league baseball, where lavishly-compensated players of color outnumber their white counterparts by more than two to one.
The do-gooding owner of the Rays added, “Let’s unite for positive change.” BLM is not looking for “positive change.” As a Marxist organization, its intent is to upend our two-party constitutional democracy by any means necessary, including violence—Hawk Newsome, leader of BLM/New York City, issued this ominous ultimatum on Fox News: “We will burn this system down if America doesn’t give us what we want.”
There was a time in America where systemic racism was a fact of life. I grew up during such a time, a time when black people were systemically excluded from full participation in nearly every aspect of American life, including competing on the athletic field: when I enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1962, there was not a single black player in the SEC.
I remember a time when black Americans routinely suffered humiliating indignities: being denied public accommodations, forced to drink from black-only water fountains, made to sit in the back of the bus and otherwise being treated like dirt.
Slavery and Jim Crow will forever be a permanent stain on the legacy of an otherwise great nation, but those evil institutions no longer exist. Mistakes of the past notwithstanding, it is indisputable that no nation in history has ever done more to correct wrongs once committed against an oppressed minority of its own citizens than this nation has.
But despite the remarkable racial progress over the last half-century—no one can deny that—one of America’s major political parties throws gasoline and a match on race relations in advance of every election. And that is why Black Lives Matter has used the killing of George Floyd as a convenient excuse to help incite nationwide rioting aimed at keeping racial tensions at a boiling point between now and November.
To the multi-millionaire professional athletes who insist on injecting racial politics into sporting events, I ask you this: Where else on earth can you get a better deal than right here in America? Cuba? Venezuela? Mexico? Bangladesh? Africa? Maybe you’d be happier in China, an unapologetic racist nation that, despite denials, uses slave labor to manufacture your fancy athletic shoes, has discriminated against Africans for decades, and throws its Muslim citizens into concentration camps. So, please, spare me your “principles.”
And to the sanctimonious mega-wealthy owners of professional baseball, football and basketball teams, I say this with all due contempt. By providing aid and comfort to a Marxist organization loyal to the party that seeks to “fundamentally transform” this great country into the world’s latest socialist Utopia, you are betraying the very system that made you among the wealthiest people on earth. As far as I’m concerned, you and the pampered ingrates who play for you can go pound sand.
Image credit: All images Twitter screen shots.