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message 1: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
After suggestions from members, this thread has been opened with the intent to have discussions that tie baseball with political or social issues.

The one rule here, aside from those that apply to any conversation, is that there must be a baseball related theme to the topic. For example, the recent controversial tweets by major league players can be discussed here, but simply turning it into a criticism of tweets by politicians that have nothing to do with baseball is not. Keeping with the "baseball" theme.

Of course the rules that apply to any conversation on GR apply - no name calling, personal attacks, overly foul language or the like. While if you see the rules for this club had #1 mentioning baseball, not politics. So, please keep it to a baseball connection. Thank you.


message 2: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments To begin lightly, I have been thinking that now that three players have had tweets come back to haunt them this may become a phenomenon that requires a name. I suggest the NotMeToo movement.


message 3: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Don't forget the hashtag...especially since it's about tweets


message 4: by Brina (new)

Brina | 8321 comments Mod
I'm wondering what you all think about baseball players having Nights to honor certain groups of people e.g. Pride night. It has been in the news lately about the Cubs and Yankees and I'm wondering why baseball has to all of a sudden has to take a political stance. I follow baseball and all sports to escape from politics.


message 5: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments I'm with you Brina. I guess it's just an attempt to fill the stands.


message 6: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Brina wrote: "I'm wondering what you all think about baseball players having Nights to honor certain groups of people e.g. Pride night. It has been in the news lately about the Cubs and Yankees and I'm wondering..."

I don't think it's all bad. They need to let people know ALL are all welcome, I think. I agree about keeping politics out of sports. But, it is a business, and they want to let all people know their $$$ are welcome.


message 7: by Beth (new)

Beth | 38 comments Brina wrote: "I'm wondering what you all think about baseball players having Nights to honor certain groups of people e.g. Pride night. It has been in the news lately about the Cubs and Yankees and I'm wondering..." hi Brina, interesting question. Here are my thoughts...as long as the military is honored, I think the door is opened for others to share the glory. Pro sports have not welcomed gay athletes in a team setting. The military actually pays lip service to more inclusiveness. And perhaps it is working. When the Red Sox won in 2004, they had members if the tv show Queer Eye for a Straight Guy (is that correct?) throw out the first pitch the next year. And there was a lot of backlash including from the players and from the hosts on WEEI radio. Sentiment was that the mound was hallowed ground and a gay person should not be on it. I was furious and made a huge stink so the radio hosts apologized. I am not gay but have been brought up to speak out. The majority of suicides by teen and young adult males are due to issues of gender non conformity and confusion. So by putting out the message that MLB recognizes that people may be LGBTQ, young fans may benefit from this. Also, the uncovering of anti gay tweets from some players may be part of this impetus to sanitize the hate-based image MLB wants to bury. With all the media attention all the time on pro athletes, it is hard to keep politics out. I really have nothing profound to say but I have a feeling this is not going away.


message 8: by Brina (new)

Brina | 8321 comments Mod
Anything WEEI says should not be taken seriously anyway. That had nothing to do with your response, Beth, but with yet another example of the lack of professionalism exhibited by the radio show hosts of that station, as happened today. I do think inclusion of all people in any platform, baseball included , is important, but this issue has lead to so much hatred on both sides that is a particular night even worth it, as it has lead to more hurtful speech than help. I know baseball has an ongoing forum lead by Billy Bean and I'm wondering if this is a better platform to discuss inclusion. Like the NFL with the flag protests, I feel that MLB should do its statements with players out of uniforms. Keep politics away from the playing field and let people enjoy the game and speak out elsewhere.


message 9: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments I am reminded of the letter written by FDR to Commissioner Landis in response to the latter's query whether baseball should stop after war was declared. In 1941. FDR wisely said words to the effect that people ought to have the chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.
I like to watch sports so I can take my mind off of political issues of the day and the fractious nature of our nation today.


message 10: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Harold wrote: "I am reminded of the letter written by FDR to Commissioner Landis in response to the latter's query whether baseball should stop after war was declared. In 1941. FDR wisely said words to the effect..."
Usually when the league effects a policy it becomes a hollow ritual. I have great respect for people like Colin Kaepernick (sp?) who protest, for all those who support him with their protests. As players are human I think it's obvious that they have the right to speak out, act out, protest, etcetera. But a league in and of itself cannot have feelings. They can have such things as anti-discriminatory policies, but I don't think they should be in the business of establishing political events. And if they did, which stakeholders would choose. For instance, I find all the military stuff propagandistic and would love to see a player refuse to wear military-based uniforms or take part in any on-field military event, say, for the victims of Fallujah, the victims of drone strikes, the children of Yemen. But baseball seems a more conservative organized sport than football and basketball (hockey seems rather conservative, too), so I have not gotten my wish. Chris Sale came close when he mutilated uniforms but his message seemed strictly sartorial. I understand the sentiment expressed by Harold that he and probably most people watch sports to relax and so on, but as athletes are high profile individuals I wouldn't mind seeing more of them speak out about various issues. They, too, are affected by politcal issues.

That said, I really wish no one was tweeting such garbage as has been uncovered; first, because it is, to my mind, garbage, and second, because it's such an indirect, odd, way to confront social issues.


message 11: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
It's one thing to speak out about various issues and even take action, like LeBron James did with his school, on their own time - it's another to bring it to the field, court or ice. I think that is where the conflicts lie. For people like Harold and Brina, and I am of the same thought, I want to enjoy sports to get away from the political and social strife.

As for the special nights, whether military, LBGTQ pride, whatever, I have no issue with that. No matter what my personal beliefs may be, what's wrong with it? Let them have their day - once their ceremony is done, guess what? There will still be a baseball/football/hockey/basketball game being played. Sure, there might be messages about the particular group being honored played throughout the game - but is that any worse than the constant bombardment of stupid ads throughout the game? I think I would rather hear about a military reunion or the joy someone had when they finally were comfortable about coming out than yet another reminder how much I can save with GEICO.


message 12: by Brina (new)

Brina | 8321 comments Mod
Laughing about that one. There are so many ads around Wrigley these days it's hard to recognize the place. I get the one time and over but when flag protests take over the sport or when Pride night leads to rude conversations on Twitter, that's when I ask myself is it worth it. Two years ago, I almost forgot about the election because of baseball. In fact I had to rush home from the parade a day earlier than I normally would have so I wouldn't be too tired to vote. Without baseball I would have had to endure four straight weeks of non stop political campaigning. So I go to sports for an escape and would rather it not be politicized.


message 13: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Bringing it to the field in the case of football gave the issue a tremendous boost.


message 14: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Not all.of it positive, however. The way the NBA and WNBA players "brought it to the field" - wearing warm up T shirts that remembered victims of police shooting - was just as effective and garnered less negative feedback as it wasn't openly defiant of the anthem or other patriotic symbols. Just my opinion, but I felt that was better. The message was still there, the opponents would still be barking but it wasn't so divisive.


message 15: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
I don't think Rick knows but I have shared elsewhere, but for this issue I will say that I am biased. While there are bad cops and there are bad shootings in which the cops should be punished, I am not too sympathetic to Kapernick and those who slander law enforcement. I have law enforcement officers in my family, including my maternal grandfather who spent 33 years on the force, 17 of them in the rough neighborhoods of north Minneapolis. He never had to discharge his weapon in his career, yet I have to listen to people call him racist and worse names. I am sharing so that when I come out as less than sympathetic to these protests, you know why. I apologize to anyone who is offended or bothered by this, but I wanted at least be honest.


message 16: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Lance wrote: "I don't think Rick knows but I have shared elsewhere, but for this issue I will say that I am biased. While there are bad cops and there are bad shootings in which the cops should be punished, I am..."
Well, thanks for the background. I'm sure your maternal grandfather was not a racist. I hope that those of us who support Kapernick and agree with him also realize that being a white cop doesn't automatically make you a racist.


message 17: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Thanks, Rick. Even when we may disagree, I appreciate those words.


message 18: by Beth (new)

Beth | 38 comments Lets play ball! My brain is tired.


message 19: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Really enjoyed this book on the making of Dodger Stadium, good bad and ugly. It was eye opening for me as I was not familiar with many of these issues.

City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles City of Dreams Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles by Jerald Podair


message 20: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments From what I know of LA--i have not read this book--a good study of Dodger stadium should be a good study of LA as well.


message 21: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7783 comments As some may know the Yankees have stopped playing Kate Smith's version of God Bless America. The following article discuses that and a lot more.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/0...


message 22: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 1343 comments I was never on board with that song being played at the stretch anyway, I'm glad they stopped it.


message 23: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7783 comments Does anyone else recall that the WLAF actually stopped having the anthems played after its first week?


message 24: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Doubledf99.99 wrote: "I was never on board with that song being played at the stretch anyway, I'm glad they stopped it."

They haven't stopped playing the song, just her version of it. Also, the Philadelphia Flyers have covered the statue of her outside Wells Fargo Arena and it will be removed. When they won their two Stanley Cups in the mid 70's, they played her version of the song for good luck.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I always thought it was a schmaltzy song anyway and had no idea that it was played during or before games. For a while, I heard people preferred it to the National Anthem because it emphasized beauty rather than war.

What bothers me is that the whole thing is just a continuation of the process that we're supposed to be ashamed of being Americans. Anything or anyone that appears to represent patriotism is at risk.

People can go back and take past racial transgressions from 80 or 90 years ago, put them in the context of modern thought and then crucify and expunge them from our collective memory. I recall a very eloquent warning about this sort of thing in the book 1984.

The part that also bothers me is that some of the same people who are mortified at her demeaning depiction of small African American children in a song will think nothing of listening to and celebrating modern rappers for pouring out their hate-filled, racist, misogynistic crap.

(sorry if I offended anyone, but that's my humble opinion)


message 26: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments Frankly Doug, I agree.


message 27: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Same here - and your last line is one I agree with 100 fold.


message 28: by Brina (new)

Brina | 8321 comments Mod
Me too. It gives me chills when Wayne and Kathleen Messmer sing it at Wrigley. They are a hauntingly beautiful duet.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Also, I wonder why retroactive character assassination seems to only be for perceived white/black racism. Every other conceivable type of past sin is forgiven for great or wealthy people for whom things have been named.

Why is there not a great outcry for the Detroit Lions to drop the name of Ford Field? It is well-documented that Henry Ford was a terrible anti-Semite. And his transgressions extended to very public speeches supporting Nazi ideas and numerous terrible statements, not just doing a silly jingle on a record.


message 30: by Rick (last edited Apr 25, 2019 09:22AM) (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Doug wrote: "I always thought it was a schmaltzy song anyway and had no idea that it was played during or before games. For a while, I heard people preferred it to the National Anthem because it emphasized beau..."

I think a good explanation for this and your later post mentioning Ford, requires deep psychoanalysis that, lucky for you, I am not qualified to deliver on. I think the attempt in South Africa to deal with a contemporary issue through a truth commission (I think they called it) was a sane, even intelligent, thing to do. It failed because a hundred or so years of legal separation created a circumstance that cannot be legislated away. White South Africans still are atop the economic heap in that country. But in the US historical context is pretty easy to trace, and if racism does still exist, far too much of it as I observe, it's very different from the days when even my heroes, the Marx Brothers, engaged in it--in what they no doubt considered innocent fun.

The worst recent case of this kind of thing that I have come across involves the band The Pogues and their song A Fairy Tale of New York, which has for years now been the most frequently played Christmas song in England. This last year, however, protest became loud because the song contains the word 'faggot'. As a novelist, this is the scariest kind of this crap for me. The word faggot was used in dialogue in the song as a man and woman are insulting each other grievously. There is no suggestion that the Pogues have any particular view of homosexuality, nor is the intent in the song to disparage homosexuals. They merely used an epithet a Londoner woman might have used in the heat of the moment in 1985...or 1984.


message 31: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments One more thing. Regarding racism, sexism, etc., we always hear a lot about 'awareness raising'. Of course we should all be pretty aware by now. But without the kind of lack of awareness from decades ago, there would be no need for it. So it is quite obvious that looking into the past it is easy to find examples of what are now considered, usually rightly so, ugly words and phrases and views and characterizations. It's absurd, then, to suddenly make too much of them.
And to take Doug's example, if you are going to condemn a historical figure, go after one who meant something in history, not some singer or ballplayer...


message 32: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
Almost along these lines (it happened last night, not years or decades ago) a statement from the Reds' TV announcing team has generated some backlash.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/...


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Lance wrote: "Almost along these lines (it happened last night, not years or decades ago) a statement from the Reds' TV announcing team has generated some backlash.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/...-..."


I'm sorry, but I think people are over-reacting again. Are they saying that Welsh's comments are racist because he implies that Albies is stupid because of his brown skin?

I took it to mean that when you come from a background that is so poor, there is essentially no difference between 35 and 85 million--both equal infinity for all practical purposes.

Personally, coming from my background, I would not know the difference either--85 million would not make any different change to my life more than 35 million would. I can't think of another 50 million to spend. Is that racist?

This is nowhere near the statement from Tom Brookshier in the '80s that U of L basketball players had a collective IQ of about 40 (they were all black). I think the context was that Albies was from a very poor background.

It has gotten to the point where people are so sensitive that it is inevitable that anything will cause offense if people are looking for it.


message 34: by Harold (last edited Apr 25, 2019 11:26AM) (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments Doug wrote: "Also, I wonder why retroactive character assassination seems to only be for perceived white/black racism. Every other conceivable type of past sin is forgiven for great or wealthy people for whom t..." Yes indeed about Ford(and I bought a few in the 70's). It's called let's look for the next target we can dig up or put a bullseye on. All you need is someone to find a reason to be offended and the herd mentality calls for the head of the alleged offender.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

I also think that context and times are everything.
Recently my wife and I have been watching our Disney collection--partly because our granddaughter is 2 (but she only likes to watch Frozen a thousand times a weekend right now), and partly because we enjoy them (my daughter is always amazed at so many of the kneejerk quotes we have thrown into our family conversations for 20 years that come from them--she was the youngest and picked them up from her brothers and never even knew where they came from).

There are lots of things in the old Disney movies that are very questionable now as racist or at the least negative stereotypes (if there is a difference). Some things, like the evil slanty-eyed, bucktoothed Siamese twin cats in Lady and the Tramp are understandable if you recall that in that era oriental soldiers had killed several million people in the not-too-distant past and were still regarded with disdain.

Now, of course, something like that would be inexcusable. Does that mean that Old Man Disney was a racist? Some would say so. But I think it was merely due to the point in time.

The same with the Bugs Bunny cartoons which depicted German adversaries as goose-stepping ignoramouses. Not funny or appropriate now, but in 1945, after what they had put the world through, entirely understandable.


message 36: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Albies: The announcer went sour when he pondered whether the Albies family was brought up to some office or whatever. I think he was guilty of sound like an idiot, and that left what he said open to interpretation. Doug's reaction is pretty much the way I explain my own feeling that salaries are insane--you don't have to be poor from Curacao (does the guy even know anything about Albies' background? Not everyone from Curacao is poor.) for there to be no essential difference between 35 and 85 million. And the idea that there is a 'market' that is somehow meaningful is another bit of insanity--yes, there is such a market, but it is an artifice, a perception. The reason I don't like Greinke is because he had a good situation in LA and left for a meaningless--to any sane human--amount of money.
Anyway, the guy certainly did not clearly imply that Albies is poor and therefore stupid. But I wish I could listen to someone smarter talk about the deal. Could one reason a person would consider that a good amount of dough be that until this year, someone like Albies could be kept 'underpaid'--half a million or whatever--for three years, until arbitration eligible, and that a career ending injury could occur at any time? The announces went on to babble about Albies at the end of his contract being more or less like any guy his age without a job. I don't think that's likely, particularly if he uses it to buy property for his family on Curacao.
Further, if any of you want to give me a mere 5 million, I promise to move to Curacao myself.


message 37: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments I can understand why Albies would take the money now rather than risk a poor sophomore year or injury. Still, relatively speaking, it was a better deal for the Braves. Albies may regret it later when his 10% agent fees, and taxes are taken out.
As for Greinke, from what I read, he despised Puig and didn't like the culture and atmosphere in LA. He wanted out of there; it wasn't primarily money


message 38: by Rick (last edited Apr 25, 2019 04:47PM) (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Thanks for the info on Greinke. I generally like a smart pitcher who can both field and hit. And lacking information, I tend to look at the money angle first.


message 39: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments My pleasure


message 40: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
I saw this article on my Yahoo feed and I wondered what it was about. I have to admit, I had never heard about this "white supremacist" gesture that the fan had done. Although when I was reading the article, I was troubled by the statement from Crane Kenney that said that "In our view, the burden of proof is on the fan..." So, does that mean if the Cubs or someone associtated with them believe a fan is offensive, racist, whatever it is up to the FAN to prove he or she is not one in order to avoid being removed from Wrigley Field? That statement, while probably meant just for this one incident, can have serious implications IMO.

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/read-rea...


message 41: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments That gesture is widely known as a White Supremacy symbol so I doubt that a fan would be ejected for giving the middle finger.


message 42: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
I agree - and like I said, Kenney probably meant just for this incident - but if there is someone who is offended by __________ (fill in the blank with whatever you want) and complains to Cubs management, will they eject the fan who probably did nothing wrong? Extreme example here, but if someone doesn't want the presence of a white person since he or she believes all whites are racist, is it on the white fan to "prove" he or she isn't a racist? That sort of thing. Yes, that's crazy, 99.9% of all people of all walks of life wouldn't even bother with this, but...it only takes one crazy....


message 43: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments Understood


message 44: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments There is an obvious context for this, Lance, and that's why the explanation linked to for the symbol was the ADL. The US has seen a sharp rise in both racist and anti-Semitic public displays in the last few years, and, luckily so far, a mainstream body like MLB strives to keep its distance from it.
What the article does not say is that if the fan truly was ignorant of the gesture and makes the effort to communicate that to the organization, it is likely the Cubs decision would be reversed. I assume that should this come to court the fan would be allowed in.
What I find most disturbing is that the first article I have been referred to on this incident is apparently sympathetic to a fan who apparently did what in context is a make an overtly racist display behind a black former Cub.
Of course the Cubs reacted swiftly and severely as possible. What else should they do? At this point it is indeed up to the fan to explain himself. There are a lot of things people do when cameras are on--make faces, pull down their pants, etc--if they choose something representative of intolerance and hatred their intent of course should be assumed.


message 45: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7783 comments More on the Kate Smith situation. Apparently many fans are not taking the decision too well.
https://nypost.com/2019/05/11/yankees...


message 46: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13060 comments Mod
I had heard about the petition for the Yankees, but didn't know about the one for the Flyers. I associate the song more with them more than the Yankees.


message 47: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 18087 comments Lance wrote: "I had heard about the petition for the Yankees, but didn't know about the one for the Flyers. I associate the song more with them more than the Yankees." And hundreds of movies would have to be banned and movie stars' pictures would have to be torn up. As Doug pointed out Ford would have to be banned because the founder was a fierce white Nationalist and anti-semite.


message 48: by Rick (new)

Rick Harsch | 1198 comments Tradition!
I have mixed feelings about all this. As a born, reared and impossible to fix Cub fan, I certainly get the attachment to the past. On the other hand, it would be a lof easier to take '“That’s Why the Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton.”' if the history of slavery, racism, and northern industrial racism were truly a thing of the past rather than a template for a seemingly permanent condition for one race of people. So maybe another way to look at this is to say, yes, that was one fucked up era, let's create a tradition anew. Of course, that would require a just society...so, never mind.


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