The Rundown Lite: Boycott Talk Absurd, Darvish Ready to Go, Betts Makes Bank

“Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.” – Oscar Wilde

I’ve always loved Wilde because his sentences are small and always on point. I’ve read everything he’s published that I have had access to, and in quoting him I am going to ask you to check your definition of patriotism at the door and think about what freedom really means.

Technical difficulties prevented me from getting online this morning so I thought I’d share just a few notes before I get back to my regular version of The Rundown tomorrow. Normally I’d just wait, but I have been bothered all day by the MLB boycott nonsense, something I’ll touch more on tomorrow.

I’m as patriotic as the next Gen-Xer, but I am also a very strong proponent of individual rights. I could end the debate in one sentence and maybe I should: If you stand against the guaranteed, individual rights of the citizens of this country you are anti-American. Pack up and leave, and don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Nevertheless, I am going to elaborate. Nobody who kneels during the National Anthem is pissing on the American flag or dismissing the men and women who served this country. It’s a silent protest for those who feel that they or others aren’t treated equally. It is a united stand against police brutality and systemic marginalization. It’s certainly a more powerful and heartfelt show of dissidence in camaraderie than the village pillaging that has been happening in cities from Seattle to Bangor, something many of our politicians seem to embrace for some very strange reason.

Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: The NFL could have ended this nonsense a long time ago if they hadn’t effed with Colin Kaepernick’s career. The carelessness of those league owners for not recognizing the former 49ers quarterback’s right to protest expanded America’s racial divide, and did so exponentially. I’m glad to see baseball owners aren’t making the same mistake.

Don’t give me your BS that Kaepernick was protesting being benched, or that he’s not good enough to play in the NFL. I know, you know, and everybody knows the man paid a huge price just for being outspoken. Stop hiding behind biased rationalization and tired excuses. He was blacklisted by his employers because he wouldn’t acquiesce to their stubbornness over some silly mandate.

Something tragic happens as we age. Namely, we get curmudgeonly and we become the version of our parents we never thought we’d become. Who, or what, are you protecting by staging a consumer boycott against MLB or the NFL? The flag? Not from your sofa with a six pack of beer and some pork rinds by your side, you’re not. The members of our armed services? If you have served you may have a beef, but many very patriotic servicemen and women support kneeling. Why do you suppose that is? Perhaps it is because a silent protest hurts nobody, and if it puts a wedgie in your boxer briefs that’s just too bad.

Tommie Smith. John Carlos. Muhammad Ali. Colin Kaepernick. Those are athletes whose humble actions regarding social injustices have stood stronger than the fighting that has left our streets red with blood for nearly 250 years. Which way do you want it? Do you really want to see this country continually torn apart at the seams by unnecessary violence, or would you rather just let people express their constitutional right to silently protest? To me, there is only one right answer.

When we stand for the National Anthem we are showing respect for those who died to protect our freedom. Athletes who kneel are showing the same respect for those, who in their deaths, were denied similar privilege. Just let it go.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Despite Tuesday night’s abominable first inning performance, Yu Darvish pronounced himself ready to go for the regular season. He’ll start Saturday against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
  • Kris Bryant vented about the false narrative that he wants to leave Chicago. Let’s hope Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer find a way to extend the young third baseman.
  • The Cubs have covered outfield seats with tarpaulin that bears the logos of their bigger advertisers. I have absolutely no problem with that. If you are excited that baseball will try to stave off a global pandemic through a 60-game season and a couple rounds of playoffs you should just be happy that Friday is Opening Day. I’m just hoping nobody dies.

Odds & Sods

Now that baseball is finally set to start I am hoping we will see an end to all the ridiculous polls. By the way, if you click on the link below you’ll have to go through 360 subsequent web pages (six clicks per team!)  to get to number one, so I’ll spare you the effort and give you the team ranked dead last – the Rays – and the top five in ascending order: Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees. The White Sox were tenth.

MLB News & Notes

Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is going to be making some tall, tall cash. More on that tomorrow morning, too.

Mike Trout confirmed he will play in 2020.

The Nationals are now officially defending their 2019 championship, and will open the season “with butterflies” despite playing in an empty stadium.

Extra Innings

I suppose I won’t be getting yelled at for walking the middle of teh street in Wrigleyville following ubs games anymore.

They Said It

  • ““The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
  • “When you could, did you? If not, what did it cost?” – Tommie Smith
  • “People sometimes forget that love is at the root of our resistance.” – Colin Kaepernick

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Hold On to Freedom by Lee Michaels – The lone single from Michaels’ forgotten Space and First Takes, boldly expresses the singers’ pointed social commentary. The song addresses the individual rather than a collective consciousness, and does so brilliantly.

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