Streetwise Professor

April 3, 2021

Don’t Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Filed under: Politics,Sports — cpirrong @ 12:57 pm

Major League Baseball has been a major part of my life since birth. I don’t exaggerate. One of my first pictures is of me in a crib with a little glove and baseball cap. Baseball was a touchstone of my father’s life–as it was for his father. When he realized his dreams to play professionally were unrealistic, he enrolled in a baseball management school in Florida–mere months after my birth (in Chicago), thereby leaving my mother alone with a colic-y kid for 4 months. There he recognized that unless you were related to the owner, your professional ceiling was to become (as he put it) the head of peanut concessions. But although his desire to make baseball his profession came a cropper, the sport retained its grip on him. The Cubs, alas, also had him in their grip. Our family lived and died–mainly the latter–with their fortunes, to the point that the radius of weekend car trips was defined by our ability to listen to games on the car radio. (My dad had a preternatural ability to turn on the radio an instant before the first pitch.)

I was not quite as obsessed as my dad, or his dad (who claimed to have seen the Cubs play in their–then–last winning World Series in 1908), but I was nonetheless passionately followed the Cubs, and MLB generally, during my youth and into my 20s and 30s. During college and grad school I frequently made the trip from Hyde Park to Wrigley to sit in the bleachers–which at the time cost $3.50. The Cubs’ 1984 division championship thrilled me. The Cubs’ 1984 fiasco in San Diego crushed me. Although family and professional responsibilities constrained my investment in fandom, I still remained very engaged, and passed this along to my kids. We were all ecstatic at the 2016 World Series miracle.

I was looking forward to this season. No longer, because MLB went woke, and decided to move the All Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s recent vote reform law.

So MLB, you are dead to me. Don’t take me out to the ballgame.

Sports should be a distraction from partisan strife, not a partisan participant therein. Yes, I understand that there has always been an intersection between sports and politics, and socioeconomic issues more generally (e.g., integration, wars/patriotism). But gratuitous involvement in a highly partisan issue is inimical to the purpose of athletics. One of the joys of watching sport is that it gives an opportunity to escape the noisome miasma of politics, and to focus on the talent exhibited between the lines. Alas, in recent years the political miasma has progressively (in multiple senses of the word) polluted sports. Not surprisingly, my interest in following has changed inversely.

Basketball and football have led the descent to political correctness–and my interest has declined commensurately. But now baseball has decided to join them. So GFY, baseball.

The pretext for baseball’s capitulation to wokeness is particularly loathsome. The lies–propounded by the Senescent in Chief, among others, claiming that the law is “Jim Crow on steroids”–around Georgia’s law are egregious, and the purpose of these lies is clearly viciously partisan. What is particularly egregious is that those who support efforts to safeguard voting are vilified as racists. By joining with those making these claims, MLB is slandering millions, including millions of those who pass through the turnstiles or tune in on television, and who hence pay the bill, as racists. To which I can only say: Fuck you. Sideways. With a Stihl. You will not see another dime from me. Ever.

And just who are the racists here? One feature of the Georgia law that has resulted in shrieks of outrage is that it requires those who want to vote by mail to provide their drivers license number. So apparently the outraged believe that black people are too stupid to do that. How racist is that?

And we are hectored by the left repeatedly that questioning the results of a political process is a “conspiracy theory” that defiles the temple democracy. The Georgia law was passed pursuant to the constitutional processes of the state, which are in accordance with the US Constitution. So aren’t those–including MLB–who criticize this outcome “conspiracy theorists” and actual or potential insurrectionists?

I doubt that the ownership and management of MLB is doing this for principled reasons. They are doing it because they are pussies who are petrified at being called racists by the woke mob. So they capitulate, pussy-like, and demonstrate their fealty by calling tens of millions of other Americans racist.

Have fun with your new friends, MLB, because your old friends aren’t going be around to pay the multi-million dollar salaries of utility players.

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  1. So we now have a woke national pastime. What is MLB’s nextstep if H.R.1 doesn’t become approved soon?

    Comment by George Sladoje — April 3, 2021 @ 2:10 pm

  2. Though my interest in sports has waxed and waned over the years, of late it is approaching zero. To paraphrase Laura Ingraham (with whom I have found little to agree with on many issues), “Shut up and play ball.” I have no time for all the posturing. I hope that their woke Gen Z audience is willing to pay high ticket prices.

    Comment by Cole — April 3, 2021 @ 2:34 pm

  3. On the telly this afternoon I watched Wasps (an English club) play Clermont Auvergne – and a fine game of rugby it was, settled by a score in “overtime”.

    I suppose you might look around for another game to take an interest in. If not rugby how about ice hockey?

    Or lacrosse: I once saw part of a Scotland vs NZ lacrosse game – by golly the lasses were brave.

    Comment by dearieme — April 3, 2021 @ 3:21 pm

  4. Sadly Australian rugby has become woke and have already gone broke on and off the field.

    Comment by Epicurious — April 3, 2021 @ 5:06 pm

  5. I canceled my MLB subscription last year due to the kneeling , but it automatically renewed this year so I need to do it again. My team is the Dodgers, who I’ve agonized over since 1988. I couldn’t even watch them win last year. The MLB has destroyed all that is good.

    Comment by Howard Roark — April 3, 2021 @ 9:28 pm

  6. @Prof – I read a monogram about a decade ago called ‘Capitalism without Ownership will Fail’, by Allen Sykes and Bob Monks. Essentially its argument is that the principal-agent problem is accentuated by diverse ownership, so that executives become less receptive to the interests of their stakeholders. It may be something of a stretch but I see the same problem at work here – weakened accountability means that executives are more likely to be influenced by ‘concentrated’ pressure groups than by diverse, voiceless multitudes of fans.

    And when people have no ‘voice’ and their ‘loyalty’ has been abused, ‘exit’ is the only civilised option.

    How long do you think it will take for the MLB to learn and correct its mistake? LOL

    @Ep – Like you I gave up on the Wabbalies years ago. Happily, rugby is a game that can be enjoyed whoever is playing. I saw the Japan-Scotland world cup game with a Japanese friend of mine in a small pub in Yokohama. Just superb.

    Comment by Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — April 4, 2021 @ 4:00 am

  7. Yikes! That Stihl chainsaw part sounded particularly painful. Having known and grown up with real Cubs fans (not the Wrigleyville browsers and grazers), the depth of your disgust is very apparent. The mindlessness of the mob and the cowardly and craven response by management/ownership is breathtaking. Who knew we would get to re-live the French Revolution? Get your knitting needles out.

    Comment by Donald Wolfe — April 4, 2021 @ 9:27 am

  8. Ami Horowitz has an amusing video questioning whether voter ID laws suppress the black vote.

    White liberals in Berkeley all say yes, in various aggrieved ways. Black voters elsewhere say, “What?” 🙂

    Regarding the vote, Douglas Frank (no relation), a physical chemist, has found that voter turnout in counties across the US exactly match the 2010 census, often to 0.999 correlation. It’s physically impossible.

    Of course voter registration has changed since 2010, so the 2020 voting patterns do not match current voter registrations. Often, more votes than voters. Matching voters to addresses tested and confirmed mismatches.

    He has a video with Mike Lindell. Mike talks too much throughout. I’d like to see a coherent and sober presentation of DF’s results. What I did see looked like pretty convincing evidence of enormously widespread voter fraud.

    About MLB, etc., I’m grateful in a way. We now have a direct line on which people are more stupid than Colin Kaepernick.

    Comment by Pat Frank — April 4, 2021 @ 4:57 pm

  9. There is a war going on, global in scope and not the kind with troops amassed on the border.

    The 2020 election was fixed way in advance as was the 2018 midterms.

    Sit tight, you just can’t see the good guys.

    (And stop drinking any Coca Cola products while we wait)

    Comment by Big City Dan — April 4, 2021 @ 6:21 pm

  10. An unsurprisingly selective take on Georgia’s new voting laws. I mean, not allowing refreshments to be bought to those standing in line – WTAF? Its voter suppression, pure and simple, but hey its your voter suppression law so that’s just fine.

    No doubt you’ll all be boycotting Coke, UPS, Delta etc in protest too.

    Comment by David Mercer — April 5, 2021 @ 12:17 pm

  11. You purposefully misunderstand, but that’s nothing new. And consumer activism is only for the woke?

    Comment by Donald Wolfe — April 5, 2021 @ 1:20 pm

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