The powerful electron microscope of public scrutiny stemming from sports fans instinctively flows with the purpose of water table adhering to topography and gravity in reaching the lowest geographical point. However, focus and criticism almost always reaches the top in a mildly humorous dichotomy to the water metaphor, as the leadership of professional sports deserves the constant bombardment of social media inspired epithets in deliberately chasing the lowest common denominator to optimize the bottom line.
If NFL CEO Roger Goodell is Ellsworth Toohey, former NBA commissioner David Stern echoes Robin Grey, and MLB leader Rob Manfred, and not Bartlett Giamatti, imitates O’Brien, then the answer is “negative fun” and the sporting world has officially coalesced with entertainment as the ultimate matrimonious power couple consisting of an indoctrinated jock, and a transgender Korean gamer strolling down Hollywood boulevard with loyal Pug in tow flashing four iridescent leg warmers.
The Covid-19 calendar year was an audition for Major League Baseball to usher in politics for branding and marketing purposes, and in an official resounding welcoming gesture to the Biden Administration, and the legacy of Colin Kaepernick’s boundless hijacking of the sports podium for the sake of the social justice movement, the organizational recently unleashed the first salvo of indoctrination of many on its slowly dwindling fan base. The instant the MLB abruptly announced that the 2021 All-Star game and diamond related festivities, including the Home Run Derby, would be moved from Atlanta to Denver in direct response to Georgia voter reforms laws, “America’s Pastime” lost all credibility and the honor of being labeled with the traditional, but now empty slogan bereft of any elements of patriotism. Why taint sports with politics, with a biased media gifted in rhetoric, and the semi-public forum of social media a regular outlet for heated diatribes?
The putrid decision by Manfred to cowardly yield to the demands of special interests, aligns baseball with the Blue pill PC confusingly infuriating industrial complex of the NFL and the NBA, in manufacturing rhetoric around a competitive and lucrative environment that makes absolutely no sense. With the studious wealth of applied mathematics, statistics, and analytics, how the MLB whiffed in failing to use their own algorithms and alienating a slap in the face obviously and easily identifiable core fan base demographic, is worse than the NFL Player’s Union castigating law enforcement, even though police help provide crucial security services for athletes and coaches.
While the hypocrisy is resoundingly decadent, the television ratings for Opening Day were unexpectedly strong, according to sportspromedia.com. After a floundering lackadaisical relative audience no show for the 2020 World Series, where numbers plummeted by 32% compared to the 2019 Fall classic. With fans partially back in the stands, and the pending controversy of selling out to extremists, the transformation of baseball morphing towards entertainment, rather than a professional sport, is taking place under the watchful eye of the contemporary hipster, and the resulting chrysalis is a disturbing representation of prevaricating organizational dynamics. Possibility haunted by liberal guilt and the perpetuity emanating from a flaw where only 8% of players on MLB rosters are African American, and less than 3% are Asian, with the bulk of the group born in either Japan, or South Korea, the binding reactionary decision approved by Manfred and staff is understandable when weighed against these extraordinary volatile times, yet nonetheless recklessly naive. The directive to publicly “protest” the Georgia voting legislation in relocating the All-star game to a bluer state is patently disingenuous and tawdry for all the wrong reasons, but at least home runs are more likely to be tape measure shots, do to the thin air of the Mile High City.
The ashamed conscience of a juvenile aside, surrendering to the insufferable platitudes of a “new normal” as the legacies of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle precariously hang on to the cleft of vaporization from history seats the MLB brass at the exclusive table featuring five courses of cannibal culinary exuberance. The entire framework driven by nostalgia and positive associations with icons is simply incapable of survival in the absence larger than life ambassadors, the majority looking down from heaven as heart of the game may soon implode. With this detestable reality, legions of lifelong fans should be given latitude for apathy in finding the modern existence MLB boring and superficially sentimental on a multitude of levels.
Last year brought out the worst in selected athletes as indirect spokesmen for their respective sports, but were given hall passes due to the crises and politicization surround the Coronavirus. Most notable was the decision by Colorado’s Ian Desmond, who cited family concerns, and the death of George Floyd aiding his tone deaf decision. In all 22 veteran big leaguers chose to sit the 2020 season or a part of the season out, a curiously damning indictment and response to tens of millions Americans unable to work because of stringent restrictions on travel and social distancing procedures. It is just not a good look, when a multi-million dollar per year professional athlete is completely oblivious to the truth that folks of average income, make high salaries possible, through viewership, online engagement, and the purchasing power of buying tickets, and officially licensed apparel and memorabilia. The fact that the entire schedule was played with fans in vacuous stadiums, save for the players, coaches, and team personnel, left a bad taste in the mouth of regular fans, an interpretation of double secret probation that was only exacerbated by the transplanting of the All-Star game to Denver.
Across this expansive world of divisiveness and this festering wound of a societal chasm, sports at one point were for the most part off-limits to partisan politics, especially totalitarian ideology. The no-nonsense policy was first attenuated by the antics of Kaepernick, and then the social media rants of Lebron James, and the NBA selling their souls to the Black Lives Matter movement, as names on jerseys were replaced by politicized slogans. Basketball learned from its mistake in 2020, as terrible audience numbers forced the league to scrap its call to action for social justice warriors. Lost in the maze of a minefield is the average season ticket holder, television or digital subscriber, or active fan. At what point did the average person pumping thousands of dollars out of pocket towards access to a team, and cumulatively makes professional sports possible, get left out of the equation?
The MLB taking sanctimonious issue with reasonable legislation addressing the fairness of elections in Georgia, if not an empty undertaking, is a desperate cry for attention, as the listless and molasses atmosphere of the modern game struggles to generate relevancy in a world of digital jump cuts and a 15-second attention span sparked by the smartphone revolution. The league has managed to succeed being a disruptive force in the current fragile status of the nation, and has clearly relieved itself from duty as a destination for leisure and an escape for fans who love the game.
The assault and perversion of the National Anthem taught Americans the lesson that things held sacred are quickly disappearing, and baseball is just another example of a legacy turned eyesore when preservation is banished to a forced labor camp and replaced by the antithesis of patriotism. Nothing is safe from the firing squad of the countercultural movement, spawned on university campuses. The names are not worth mentioning, but everyone knows the real culprit of controlling and altering the past, present and the future.
There are only 150 games left in the regular season to sort this out and right the ship, and yet, only five months until football season.
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