Saturday, April 03, 2021

Not your grandfather's game

Synchronicity or coincidence?  I happened to put on a local channel carrying the Ken Burns documentary Baseball, and it happened to be the episode with a description of the 1912 Tigers-Highlanders game in New York where Ty Cobb assaulted a spectator who called him a "half-n-----".  He was suspended, and his Detroit teammates went on strike until his reinstatement.  

A century later it's certain the Georgia Peach would not recognize his game, and not just because the Highlanders are now called the Yankees.   He'd be astonished that Major League Baseball, prodded by the Players Association, has removed the All-Star Game from Atlanta because of Georgia's decision to double down on its program of vote suppression.  (In 1912 few Black people even considered trying to vote in Georgia.)  That the game is dedicated to the memory of Hank Aaron would have him reaching for more choice language and the whiskey.

The politicians who supported the racist law in Georgia (and potentially others all over the country) are livid about the "cancelled" game, and the hundred million dollars it will likely cost the state, but racism costs more economically in 2021 than it did in 1912, when Cobb paid a fifty-dollar fine.  Angry consumers threatening to become non-consumers caused the Delta and Coca-Cola criticisms, however late and tepid.   A boycott of TV and movie work in the state has been called for but is more controversial, opposed by people like Tyler Perry and Stacey Abrams.  (Perry has a huge production facility in Atlanta and Abrams is among those putting faith in federal intervention.)  The legislature's response was to try ending Delta's jet fuel tax benefit.  Because boycotts are legitimate only when proposed by the White nationalists.

To which end Trump and Tucker Carlson have called on their followers to boycott major league baseball.  It's part racism, part Trump's lingering resentment of the game that never let him buy in, part the "shut up and play" response to athletes presuming to be political.  Also you just know Tucky was picked last for every game he ever tried to play.  Sorry, boys, we are never going back to 1912, when women could only vote in a few states and even New York fans cheered Cobb for being an asshole.  We aren't even going back to the "blue laws" of the past.  (In furtherance of vote suppression Cindy Hyde-Smith  (R-MS) would ban Sunday voting because "Remember the Sabbath," but I don't hear her complaining about the NFL schedule.)  To paraphrase Friedrich Durenmatt, a thing I seldom do, "What's woke cannot be unwoke."       



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