I know the B&E demographic, and it’s probably safe to say that about half of my six readers bleep over or skim the baseball posts. Well, baseball haters, even you will want to follow this link. Watch the video too. I apologize if you have to sit through an advertisement, but trust me. I don’t just link to just any Yankees clip.
Maybe I’m moved just because the Honorary Bat Girl is a friend of ours, but I don’t think it’s just that.
It’s easy to dismiss baseball (and indeed sports in general) as unimportant, “just a game.” But whether it’s an individual thing like Lori getting the chance to be Honorary Bat Girl, or a team thing like the Phoenix Suns wearing Los Suns jerseys to protest the new immigration law in Arizona, or a social movement thing like two African-American Olympians who raise their “black power” fists in celebration during the national anthem… sports matter, B&E readers.
Baseball can represent – and has represented – the worst in us as humans and as a society (greed, exploitation, corruption, segregation, the designated hitter). For example, led by a group of white players (including Hall of Famer Cap Anson), baseball banned black players from the league in the 1880′s, well before Jim Crow laws were standard. Baseball led the country down a shameful road.
Yet, those of us who love the sport want to think of baseball as a moral force for good. We have one major tangible backup point in our favor. Baseball integrated in 1947, eight years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. Baseball helped lead our country down a better road.
Okay, so Lori’s experience isn’t exactly (or remotely) Jackie Robinson breaking the racial barrier in Major League Baseball. But it represents a hint of baseball’s potential for good. And frankly, I’m impressed that Major League Baseball has partnered with Susan G. Komen for a Cure. Ladies with breast cancer isn’t an obvious demographic for MLB to support. Of course, the cynical side of my brain also tells me that it’s a good way for MLB to reach out to the “mommy market.” See? A good business decision too!
Anyway, I find Lori’s experience quite moving. And what makes me proudest is that Lori threw a goddamned strike. Sometimes these first pitches can really go awry. For example, this link features seven really bad ones. I happened to be in attendance when Baba Booey from the Howard Stern Show threw his. It was a serious disaster. It was also really fun raining the “boo birds” down upon the poor bastard.
Lori, I salute you, for not pulling a Baba Booey. You kick ass. And thanks for reminding me (as if I really needed reminding) why baseball matters.