Home > Sports > MLB: America’s Pastimes: Baseball, Apple Pie and Political Flame Wars

MLB: America’s Pastimes: Baseball, Apple Pie and Political Flame Wars

May 5, 2010

Remember back during the Congressional hearings for baseball, when elected official spent their time, and therefore hard-earned taxpayer money, talking aboutbaseball, of all things? Baseball and politics…whodathunkit?

Now, we can’t seem to get away from it. The New York Daily Newshad a story – albeit under their News section and not Sports – focusing on a group called the Working Families Party, which has drafted a letter to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Mets owner Fred Wilpon asking the two New York teams to boycott the 2011 MLB All-Star game in Arizona if the state doesn’t repeal its new immigration law.

“Will Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera have to show ID to take the mound next year?” asked Working Families Party director Dan Cantor in a letter to the labor-backed party’s 130,000 supporters.Arizona’s new law will require cops to ask for immigration documents from anyone suspected of entering the country illegally. Critics say it could lead to racial profiling, and opponents across the country have urged MLB to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix.

“If New York’s baseball teams say they won’t go, they could become leaders in a national push to move the All-Star Game out of Arizona,” Cantor wrote.

Hugging Harold Reynolds profiled the article this morning and made the point most of us are probably thinking: “please, leave your politics out of my baseball.” But at this point, that’s nearly impossible. The comment from HHR even came a paragraph after pointing out that moving the All-Star game could cost the region “approximately $60 million” in revenue, much of which, the post asserts, would be going to the same undocumented workers the law was put in place to eradicate.

“Please leave your politics out of my baseball.” Maybe that should end with a question mark. In reading the NYDN story on the push for a boycott, the right side bar had a link to an opinion piece by S.E. Cupp with the headline, “Starting in left field, Keith Olbermann: He’s embraced by MLB and the NFL while Limbaugh was shunned.”

If you click through to Cupp’s byline you’ll see an error message as this is, presumably, the first article the bespectacled pundit has written for the paper. At the end of the slam piece, Cupp’s personal web address appears, and when clicking through, you are linked to a book she wrote called Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. So, is Cupp upset with Olbermann because he’s “liberal media” or is she upset because he’s a Yankees fan?

Look, I’m no fan of Olbermann’s heavy-handed style of broadcasting – no matter how much I agree or disagree with his politics – but holy cow talk about taking yourself too seriously. This is too fantastic not to quote:

Nothing says “America” like our national pastime. For a few yawning hours, chronological time becomes primordial time, and within those walls of sacred stadiums, space becomes holy. And the Boys of Summer do what they’ve been doing for nearly two centuries. They play ball.But over the years, nefarious characters have threatened to sully baseball’s good name. Chick Gandil persuaded the Chicago White Sox to throw a few games back in 1919. Peter Edward Rose had a bit of a gambling problem. And, of course, there’s everyone’s favorite recovering opportunist – Jose Canseco, the Danny Bonaduce of baseball – and the long line of performance-enhancing abusers from Mark McGwire to you-know-who.

Now there’s another menace lurking in the shadows of the dugout, someone so ugly, so vindictive, so polarizing that with every word he utters he is bastardizing whatever sanctity remains of the game.

His name is Keith Olbermann.

And that’s just the start. The NYDN unleashed this woman on Olbermann with the angle that Olbermann is such a hate monger at his day job at MSNBC that MLB, and the NFL if you consider his work on NBC for Football Night in America, should be ashamed to associate with him. And, to the point of the article, how dare they let Olbermann have a sports voice when Rush Limbaugh “can’t even buy his way into the NFL.”

Olbermann, thus far on his Twitter feed, has taken the high road. Here’s another gem from Cupp:

So let’s get this straight. Limbaugh is too conservative for football, evangelical minister the Rev. Franklin Graham is too Christian for the National Day of Prayer, and Islam is too touchy for “South Park.”Meantime, Olbermann’s misogyny, race-baiting and fear-mongering makes him a perfect voice for America’s national pastime?

Take me out to the ballgame…take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks…but you better make sure the person selling them to me doesn’t look like he’s from Mexico or I’m calling the cops.

So we’ll root, root, root for the home team…if they don’t win it’s a shame…but not as much of a shame as a former sportscaster having a blog on MLBlogs that anyone who wants to can create and write about baseball…

For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old…ball…game!

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