MLB’s Red State of Mind
No, I’m not saying that Major League Baseball is communist. Although, now that you mention it….
No, what I’m talking about is a frame of mind that seems to have taken over both MLB and Red America. Neither one of them can’t stand intellectuals. College boys (and girls) who have impressive vocabularies, use logic in the decision-making process and understand that the world is painted in shades of gray, not just black and white, just don’t have a place in MLB or the fly-over states. Let me explain.
The red state anti-intellectualism is pretty clear cut. A Harvard law grad with impeccable credentials and a strong history of community organizing is nothing more than a namby-pamby, arugula-eating, out-of-touch, East-coast liberal elite. Nuance is seen as flip-flopping or waffling and the only way to make a decision is to decide which side is evil and which is good and always go for good. Of course, this also means simplifying every argument.
For instance, let’s take Elaine Benes, uh, I mean Sarah Palin. Although her oldest daughter got knocked up at 17 which would be unlimited fodder for Republicans if it had been a Democratic candidate, somehow the “Family Values” party doesn’t have a problem with this because the kids are getting married. Nevermind that this might be the worst possible outcome for the kid and for the two getting married. But, that’s the red state mindset. There is no gray. Only black and white.
In a similarly antiquated manner, red state politicians see no reason for their views to evolve beyond the social mores of 1776. If it was all right for Thomas Jefferson, it’s all right for them.
It’s just like the view that MLB takes when it comes to many of the technological and statistical updates that have inundated sports in the past few years. Of course there are people like Billy Beane and Theo Epstein who understand that using technology does not cheapen the game and, in fact, makes it more competitive. But the powers that be within the MLB hierarchy have fought back. People like Bill James get blackballed.
And in the same way, it took a flurry of botched calls at the beginning of the season before they even considered instituting limited instant replay. No one wants to see the ump behind the plate replaced with a computer calling balls and strikes. But what’s wrong with taking another look at a play that took place 200 feet from where they were standing?
In the end, we have no control over what MLB does. It will take time but they’ll have to evolve to stay relevant. But we do have a choice when it comes to who leads our country. A little arugula anyone?