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Sunday, June 30, 2002

Take Me Out to the Ballgame


There aren’t many things I enjoy more than listening to Mariners baseball on the radio while driving back to Seattle after a day spent in the mountains. Baseball on the radio is better than books on tape when you are driving; at least it is if you are a baseball nut. Tonight’s game with the Rockies began just as the Seattle skyline popped into view.

By the time I got home, showered, and planted myself at the bar near my apartment it was already the third inning. I had missed Ichiro’s lead-off home run but the Rockies’ troubles really began as their second baseman missed tagging a runner which would have been part of a certain double play. The M’s were already leading 1-0 when Ruben Sierra hit a sacrifice fly.

The rest is all in the box scores. If you are reading this then you are a click away from MLB. I’m not a baseball writer, just a fan. One of the greatest things about baseball—and there are many--is that when you go to the game everyone gets up and sings a song. If you don’t stand up for it nobody will ever say anything to you nor will you be reproached for not singing. It is strictly voluntary and carried out in an amiable spirit. It is fun.

After 9/11 the seventh inning stretch tradition was amended to add the singing of God Bless America. Thank goodness that was short-lived. We already stand up and sing the National Anthem at the beginning of the game. I think one nod to patriotism is enough for one sporting event.

I can’t remember when I was last required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance but I’m sure that I have repeated it unthinkingly about as many times as a Catholic kid says the Hail Mary. Just as no one has ever become holy by reciting the Hail Mary no one has ever become a better American by repeating the Pledge. I’ll bet Timothy McVeigh lead his class while saying the Pledge. The pledge is just a dumb prayer and we should lose it.

In the past, God, baseball, and apple pie have been served up to Americans as representing what this country is all about. As an atheist and someone who rarely touches sweets I would ask the server to hold the God and to substitute bacon for the apple pie. If you don’t like baseball then you can substitute something else for that. You and I could never be friends because I am about as intolerant towards people who don’t get baseball as is some radical Muslim cleric towards infidels. This is nothing for you to worry about. As they say, it’s a free country.

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