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The Woke Game Of Baseball?

June 26, 2023 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

I don’t know about you, but if you are like me you probably have had your fill of all this woke nonsense that is perverting our culture these days.
Each day’s news roundup reports just how far this ideology has gone and while there does seem to be a bit of a backlash, corporation after corporation continues to pile-on the woke bandwagon with their rules about what you can and cannot speak unless it is pure unadulterated woke-speak, or an unconditional acceptance of that message.
Perhaps Bud Light, Target, Kohl’s, and a few others are being caught up in this undertow — at least for now — but the question remains: How far will this go? We see, even scientists and medical professionals, censoring colleagues because nothing is settled in science or medicine unless it is politically correct.
And this wokeism is pervasive; it is creeping into every area of life — the professions, entertainment, leisure, academics, and even religion. But what troubles me, and not just a little bit, is woke’s entry into sports.
Only a few years ago you couldn’t go to an NBA game without seeing the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on either side of the court. Ditto with the NFL, perhaps not as blatantly as the NBA, except for the singing of the Black National Anthem. In any event, this was all woven into the game by forcing our attention on a Progressive Leftist political argument.
But the sport that has disturbed me the most is baseball. Now I have to admit that ever since I was a kid watching baseball on the old black & white, I’ve been hooked. I remember those Saturday afternoons sitting with my dad and listening to Dizzy Dean explain how the runner “slud” under the tag to reach base safely. Those were the days when baseball was truly the National Pastime.
But unfortunately it seems that MLB has plugged into some of the same woke ideas that have our culture dangling between beauty and rot. I don’t know when the historians will place the marker, that is if our future will even allow such a discussion, but I know when it hit me.
It was in 2021 when MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred, bowing to pressure from a pair of race hustling politicians, Stacey Abrams and Al Sharpton, moved the All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. The reason given was that the Georgia legislature had passed a new voting law that curbed the rights of minority groups. To be fair, that was not true, like much of what the Progressive Left tells us.
What the bill did do was to tighten voter laws and require verified identification to cast a ballot. But the claim was it would disenfranchise minority voters, which turned out not to be true, the following year’s general election saw the largest participation in history especially among minorities, who — by the way — soundly sunk Ms. Abrams’ gubernatorial candidacy.
But it did more than that. Estimates were that the move cost the state $100 million, much of which would have been spent in and around Atlanta, feeding many minority businesses, in a minority city, who would have celebrated a mid-season Christmas. Instead the cash infusion went to a predominantly white city in Colorado.
Yet now I see a worse scandal than the decision that robbed Georgia. It is a blatant attack on the Catholic Church by what was the National Pastime: The Dodgers “honoring” drag-queen performers, who dress as nuns to mock the Church and blaspheme its symbols and rituals, who call themselves the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
This episode tells me that wokeness has swallowed the MLB since no MLB official with any standing even commented on the Dodgers’ actions. I searched to see if Commissioner Manfred issued a statement in defense of the Church or the beliefs of millions of baseball fans. I could find nothing.
Of course a few players did speak up. One of them was Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Anthony Bass, who was later forced into an awkward apology, then sent to the minors. See, even if you take the bait and apologize, you must still be punished.
Baseball historians will tell you of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history was the 1919 Chicago White Sox…or as they have been known: the Black Sox. They actually accepted money from gamblers to throw the World Series that year to the heavily underdog Cincinnati Reds.
Although rumors were circulated even during the Series, the story of the Black Sox scandal finally hit the public in 1920, causing a panic among team owners. The integrity of the game was at stake, and even a sham trial acquitting the players involved did little to calm the public.
At the time baseball was overseen by a three-member commission, one from each league and a neutral third commissioner. That had been cobbled together by baseball owners who always seemed to be at each other’s throats. So the league presidents sought a real independent third member of the baseball troika.
They found the man they wanted in a no-nonsense federal judge from Chicago, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Landis’ main contact with baseball was as an avid fan, often leaving the federal courthouse to attend Sox and Cub games. Ironically, he also presided over an anti-trust lawsuit between the up-start Federal League and the established American and National Leagues. Landis allowed the case to languish long enough for the parties to settle, which ended the Federal League.
When offered the third commissioner’s position Landis refused. He would, however, accept the role as single commissioner, a lifetime appointment, and with full dictatorial powers. The owners relented, gave Landis what he wanted, and he went about cleaning up the mess from the Black Sox, banning all the players involved and establishing baseball’s inflexible rule: If you bet on your game, you are out of the game for life.
Landis served as commissioner until his death in 1944.
Manfred is the tenth commissioner in major league baseball. Again, ironically, he is the only one not to have been the unanimous choice of the team owners. It may be time to re-look at that choice — the owners hire and can fire.
The Black Sox scandal produced a strong commissioner. We have one now with a weak backbone and sense of honor. Maybe it’s time for the owners to rethink Manfred and find a new Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every weekend on Faith On Trial or podcast at https://iowacatholicradio.com/faith-on-trial/)

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