ICYMI: It’s not too late for MLB to recover baseball’s patriotic reputation
|by Mike Pence and Brian Burch|
June 15, 2023
|For almost 200 years, Americans of all political persuasions have united around the great game of baseball . Since 1909, congressional Democrats and Republicans have put aside their bitter divisions to compete together in the friendliest of rivalries. During the 2001 World Series, President George W. Bush rekindled the American spirit by throwing out the first pitch of game three in Yankee Stadium, just a month after one of our country’s darkest days.But baseball’s long, patriotic track record has come into question in recent years. In 2021, when my friend Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law to protect election integrity in his state, Major League Baseball (MLB) chose to relocate the All-Star Game from Atlanta , citing concerns about “voter suppression” — a claim put to shame by the actual impact of the law, which produced historic voter turnout, including among African Americans.|
In doing so, MLB not only undermined the game’s apolitical reputation, but robbed the legacy of one of baseball’s all-time greats, Hank Aaron. Atlanta hosted its first All-Star Game almost 50 years beforehand, a game in which “Hammerin’ Hank” played and helped bring about an incredible victory. The 2021 game would have been a beautiful opportunity to honor the Atlanta Braves legend, who had died just months before.
Fast forward to 2023, when Major League Baseball’s standing as our national pastime was desecrated by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic hate group with a history of religious bigotry.For reasons completely beyond understanding, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to give an award to the “Sisters,” giving the group a public platform and spotlight for their indecency that risks sexualizing young children.For a moment, it looked like the Dodgers might reverse course, but sanity has not prevailed in Los Angeles. As Bishop Robert Barron has made clear, this kind of religious intolerance and public indecency would never be celebrated if it were targeted against another religious group like Jews or Muslims.In addition to the reputational damage MLB will undoubtedly suffer as a result of this grave error, the league should also consider the financial risk it is incurring. In recent weeks, Bud Light and Target have both endured a swift backlash after promoting the Left’s radical gender ideology, with share prices dropping by double digits over the past month. Fed-up citizens are punishing woke companies for their ideological excesses.
Baseball once stood for American greatness, but when the MLB openly invites attacks on Christian faith, sexualizes children with graphic public displays, and undermines the family-friendly environment that baseball has long stood for, it is clear that those days are fading fast.Still, while baseball has had a bad streak over the past few years, that does not mean the book is closed on the MLB. “Pride Night,” when the Dodgers will recognize the “Sisters,” is not until June 16. It is still not too late to reverse course and recover the reputation of American baseball.Baseball has long been cherished as America’s pastime, transcending political, social, and cultural boundaries. We firmly believe that baseball still has the power to bring people together and foster a sense of American unity centered around our civic virtues. If the league acts quickly, we are hopeful that baseball can once again become a source of inspiration for millions of fans across these United States.
Mike Pence is the former vice president of the United States and a current presidential candidate. Brian Burch is president of Catholic Vote.
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