September 11th has become a big day for America and baseball is a big part of it. Any thoughts?
Over the past few days I’ve talked to a lot of non-American friends and we’ve shared stories about where we were when we heard the news on September 11, 2001. Everyone can recall exactly where they were, exactly what they were doing. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few times that 9/11 is the one day when the entire world remembers where they were when they heard about the attack.
The thing about September 11th is that although it happened in New York, it wasn’t just an American event. The people in the World Trade Center came from all over the world to work in New York. 9/11 wasn’t an attack on America. It was an attack on an open, liberal way of life enjoyed in many parts of the world and epitomized by the US that happened to take place in the New York.
That’s why I have a problem with what MLB has done in remembrance of 9/11. I still remember the first time I heard “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch instead of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” I sat there wondering what was going on. First off, what place does religion have at the ballpark? And secondly, in remembrance of an event that affected the entire world and redefined that world in the blink of an eye, why a song that disregards the rest of the world?
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. “
God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.
Let’s face it, a healthy percentage of the major leagues is made up of people who aren’t necessarily US citizens. Baseball has also actively sought to increase its allure outside of the US. So why would they replace “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a song that celebrates the sport, with a nationalistic song that borders on jingoism? Yes, I know that baseball is America’s pastime. And I know that “God Bless America” is no longer sung during every game at every stadium. But that’s not the point.
September 11th profoundly affected the American national psyche. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed because the wound still hasn’t healed and sometimes feels as fresh as it did that day. We should never forget what happened but we should also realize that the whole world felt that pain and continues to feel its effects. MLB needs to realize that, too, and if they can’t find a song more inclusive than “God Bless America,” maybe it’s time they went back to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
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