Old Glory and the National pastime

Little more than a month after he called Dec. 7, 1941, a “Day of Infamy” and led America into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt paused from his duties as commander-in-chief to assume the mantle of “First Fan.”

In a letter to Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis dated Jan. 15, 1942, FDR requested that “baseball keep going.” President Roosevelt believed it was important to stateside morale that our nation find respite from the rigors of wartime, and that our “national pastime” could provide it.

Had a “woke” culture (as opposed to an awakened populace) existed in the early 1940s, there would have been plenty of complaints. Major League Baseball was a segregated sport (it would not integrate until after the war); there were no “workers’ rights” for players, because teams “owned” them contractually; and the quality of competition suffered as the game’s young players volunteered for military service.

Despite rosters filled with older, younger and medically discharged players, baseball continued during the war years, and cemented its spot in the annals of Americana alongside hot dogs and apple pie — or so it seemed.

Now, almost 80 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a different president has called on Major League Baseball in a very different way, and MLB has answered the call by joining in a political attack on the state of Georgia, as well as an economic assault on the “majority minority” city of Atlanta.

History may record Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, but he was batting leadoff when it came to bashing Georgia. Appearing on ESPN’s coverage of Opening Day, President Biden turned Major League Baseball into a “political football,” calling on MLB to move the All-Star Game out of the Peach State.

Hyperbole is an omnipresent reality in American political speech, but Mr. Biden’s false charges plumbed new depths. He described the new Georgia Election Reform Law as an “atrocity,” added that it was “Jim Crow on steroids,” and mistakenly claimed time and again that Georgia was closing the polls at 5 p.m. on Election Day. It was that final falsehood that drew the ire of no less a progressive publication than The Washington Post.  

On March 30, the Post turned “fact checker” on the chief executive’s repetition of the falsehood. The newspaper correctly pointed out that polls in Georgia remain open until 7 p.m. on Election Day, and gave the president four “Pinocchios” for his deliberate use of disinformation. Yet “Geppetto” Biden continues to pull strings (or more accurately, yank chains) by continuing to make that false claim.

Unfortunately, other publications lend credence to the incredible. Because the new Georgia Law requires Voter ID, Politico frets that it “could potentially restrict voting access.” But shouldn’t voting access be limited to legal, registered voters who can confirm their identity?

With the White House using the “bully pulpit” to bully others, a compliant target was found in MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. No “Mighty Manfred” by any stretch of the imagination, the commissioner collapsed in the wake of the woke onslaught.

In his official statement of April 2, Commissioner Manfred fashioned a rhetorical spitball: “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game…”

While Rob Manfred got rolled, the Rockies were rewarded in the rush to relocate.

Yes, Virginia (or more appropriately, Georgia)…there is a Colorado, and that’s where this year’s Midsummer Classic will now be played.

If you’re scoring at home, let’s review what MLB is calling the best way to demonstrate values. The game was pulled from Atlanta, a city with a population that is 51% Black, and moved to Denver, with a ten percent minority populace. Moreover, the Atlanta area, historically known as a center of Black commerce, will lose an estimated $100 million. So much for “racial justice.”

Conversely, Colorado, a state with what NBC News describes as “expansive voting laws,” but more accurately identified as “ballot fraud friendly,” given its policy priorities of same day voter registration and elections conducted primarily by mail, will prosper…at least in the short term.

The implications are clear. MLB has chosen to “play ball” with Biden, and in so doing, has chosen sides politically. It is an error of major league proportions.

J.D. Hayworth worked as a Sportscaster at Channel 10, Phoenix from 1987 until 1994. He was also the Cactus League “Voice of the Chicago Cubs” on KCKY Radio from 1991 to 1993, and the inaugural play-by-play “Voice of the Arizona Fall League” in 1992.

Hayworth represented Arizona in the U.S. Congress from 1995 to 2007. His grandfather, Ray Hayworth, was a Major League catcher for 15 seasons.