My passion for professional baseball began when I was ten. In 1954, my parents signed me up with a Little League team at the U.S. Air Force base in Wiesbaden, West Germany. The six teams in the league were named after major league teams back home in America.
I ended up on the team named after the Brooklyn Dodgers. With my interest in big league baseball piqued, I made a scrapbook about the Dodgers from articles in the sports section of the U.S. military newspaper known as The Stars and Stripes. The first clipping in my scrapbook was the line score of Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, between the Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
In 1957, I mailed the scrapbook to the Dodgers shortly before the organization moved to Los Angeles. A few weeks later, it was returned to me signed by every player on the team, including Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and ’55 World Series MVP, Johnny Podres, who threw a 2-0 shutout at the Yankees in the deciding game.
When the signed scrapbook arrived, I was hooked on major league baseball. In short order, I’d learned the names of the top players of every major league team. Over the years, I watched a ton of baseball, mostly on TV. Watching games was a relaxing pastime that took my mind away from life’s inevitable anxieties, things like worrying about my grades in college, health setbacks, the Cold War and Wall Street bear markets. Ten years ago, baseball helped distract me, at least in fleeting intervals, from the bottomless emotional pain of losing the only woman I ever loved to suicide. At points in my life when my mind needed a brief time out, turning on the TV and watching some baseball was just what the doctor ordered.
For 65 years, I was a loyal fan of major league baseball. But as of Opening Day 2020, that all changed. With deep regret, I no longer follow the Boys of Summer. MLB’s woke owners drove me away.
Political indoctrination has no place in sports
Like most patriotic Americans, I don’t watch baseball—or any sport—to have moralizing political lectures rammed down my throat. Yet that is the order of the day, not only in the NFL and the NBA, but now in major league baseball as well, where franchise owners are falling all over themselves kowtowing to Black Lives Matter, a Marxist (communist) political movement that hijacked the noble cause of racial justice as a fig leaf to disguise its profoundly anti-American ideology.
Is systemic racism real in the America of today?
The league-wide capitulation to racial politics was on full display in Florida, where Stuart Sternberg, the virtue-signaling owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, gave his players permission to wear batting practice T-shirts and uniform patches emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter.” I wonder if he would allow player apparel with some other polarizing political message, say, for example, “Lives of Unborn Babies Matter.” No, he wouldn’t. And I wonder if he would ever tweet a tribute to the nation’s 800,000 law enforcement officers who risk their lives 24/7/365 going into crime-ridden urban neighborhoods to protect innocent black citizens from rape, robbery, murder, assault, illegal drugs, domestic violence, sex trafficking, carjacking and drive-by shootings. No, he wouldn’t do that, either.
Jumping into race-baiting politics with both left feet, Sternberg approved a tweet parroting the Black Lives Matter propaganda that “Systemic racism is real,” a political slogan that suggests there’s a racist hiding under every rock in America.
There was a time in this country when systemic racism was undeniably real. I grew up during such a time, a time when black people were systemically excluded from full participation in nearly every aspect of American life, including athletic competition: when I enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1962, the SEC did not have a single black player.
I remember a time when black Americans routinely suffered dehumanizing indignities: required to drink from “black only” water fountains, denied public accommodations, forced to sit in the back of the bus and otherwise treated like dirt. But that unenlightened era is long gone: a systemically racist nation would not elect a black president once, much less twice.
If America’s so bad, why are migrants desperate to get here?
Fact: America is the most sought-after migrant destination in the world. According to Pew Research, the black immigrant population in the U.S. increased fivefold since 1980, reaching 4.2 million in 2016. If America is an evil and incurably racist nation, as Black Lives Matter contends, why do so many black people from Africa and the Caribbean stand in line to get here?
The answer was explained to me last year by Kingsley, an Uber driver from Africa. Arriving here from Ghana 12 years ago and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Kingsley came here with nothing but the clothes he was wearing and a dream of building a better life in the greatest land of opportunity the world has ever known. Here’s how Kingsley described his American experience:
I had nothing in Africa. No job. No hope. I asked God to help me get to America. Getting to America is the greatest gift God ever gave me. You can make a living here. You can have enough food to eat. You can take care of your family. Look at me. I have a car. I have a car! I can never repay America for what it has done for me.
I would later meet other Uber drivers from Africa, and two from Haiti, each of whom expressed an outpouring of gratitude for the blessings this “systemically racist” nation has shared with them.
There will never be racial harmony in America; Democrats will never allow it.
Slavery and Jim Crow will forever be a permanent stain on the legacy of an otherwise great nation, but those wicked institutions no longer exist. Mistakes of the past notwithstanding, it’s indisputable that no nation in history has ever done more to correct wrongs once committed against an oppressed minority of its own citizens than this nation has—a black child born in America today has the exact same legal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a white child, and it’s been that way for the last half-century.
But despite the remarkable racial progress since the 1960s—no one can deny that—one of America’s major political parties throws gasoline and a lit match on race relations in advance of every election. And that’s why that party’s most potent political ally, Black Lives Matter, has been tasked with using the killing of George Floyd to incite nationwide turmoil aimed at keeping racial tensions at a boiling point between now and November.
My message to players and owners
To the multi-millionaire players who’ve been taught to see their country as a sorry-# place, I ask this: Where else on earth can you get a better deal? Cuba? Venezuela? Mexico? Haiti? Maybe you’d be happier in China, a racist nation that not only discriminates against Africans and condemns its Uighur Muslim ethnic minority to concentration camps, but also uses slave labor to manufacture the fancy athletic shoes you eagerly wear. So, please, spare me your “principles.”
And to the owners of professional baseball, football and basketball teams, I say this: By providing aid and comfort to a violent Marxist organization hell-bent on helping “fundamentally transform” this great country into the world’s latest socialist hellhole, you are betraying the system that made you among the wealthiest people on earth. As far as I’m concerned, you and the pampered ingrates who play for you can go pound sand.