In October, the TV at our house seems perennially tuned to the post-season dramatics that culminate in the World Series. You could argue that this is a craven way of hiding out from the real problems in the real world, but maybe there’s more to it than that.
The game of baseball serves as metaphor for life and death for poets and writers, while the institution of Major League Baseball offers a means of examining much of what divides us as a country: Gender, labor, and immigration issues; foreign policy, economics, and religion — all have been examined through the lens of baseball by scholars.
Consider these books: “The Faith of 50 Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture,” “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” “No Girls in the Clubhouse: The Exclusion of Women from Baseball,” “Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination During the 1934 Tour of Japan,” and “Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston.”
And now this: A disconsolate fan of the Atlanta Braves, who had just been eliminated from contention, wrote to his congressman, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). His letter recently appeared on hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. As the content transcends the game of baseball, I pass it along as a public service.
“Dear Congressman Kingston, Thank you for your courageous stand against Obamacare and in support of the government shutdown. Your bold act of statesmanship has given me an idea that I hope you’ll agree with.
Like you, I’m sure, I am profoundly disappointed that the Atlanta Braves lost the NLDS [National League Division Series]…. And to the Dodgers – a bunch of California liberals!
This outrage cannot be allowed to stand. But the system has failed us. We tried to resolve this issue through traditional means. In last night’s game alone, we must have sent batters to the plate at least 40 times. But just because we couldn’t score enough runs, the Dodgers refuse to relinquish the title – and worse, they won’t even discuss it.
LA’s stubborn refusal to even talk to us about reversing the results of this series is un-sportsmanlike and un-American. But there is an answer. If the Dodgers won’t listen to the cries of average Americans like you and me, then Congress should outlaw Major League Baseball until the Dodgers cave.
I understand this solution may sound unconventional. But we can no longer afford to play baseball as usual. This issue is too important. Americans – by which I mean Braves fans like me – overwhelmingly oppose a Dodgers win. Allowing them to impose their left-coast values on our post-season play is ruining America. And my fantasy team.
I know that some in the greater fan community and in the sportscasting elite may say that shutting down all of baseball is too drastic a step. That if this kind of hostage-taking is allowed to succeed, baseball as we know it will cease to function – that…. before long we’ll see the Mets shutting down the league unless they get a Super Bowl ring, or the Diamondbacks halting play unless they win the Stanley Cup. But you and I know that’s just a bunch of California double-speak.
Just because the Dodgers had more hits, scored more runs, and won more games doesn’t make them right. You can help them see that. And if that means the country will be deprived of its national pastime – well, the Dodgers will have only themselves to blame.
Help us avoid the Dodgers’ cynical shutdown of Major League Baseball. Bring the National League pennant home to Atlanta today.
At last! A sane response to the craziness that besets our beloved country.