I have been remiss in getting up “Comments of the Day,” another consequence of my frustration adapting to the new WordPress “block” system, damn it. I usually hand le COTD posts from my laptop, and posts requiring my concentration and composition rather than the imported wisdom of others from the Fortress of Ethics Solitude, my office.
I’m posting this follow-up comment from Here’s Johnny regarding the baseball writers’ gratuitous smear on the original commissioner of baseball based on nothing but rumor, a desire to practice “anti-racism,” without actually doing anything, and the smug assumption that History Doesn’t Matter, Gratitude Doesn’t Matter, and Honors Don’t Matter.
And the dog is licking my toes…
UPDATE: Well, that was a failed experiment. When I tried to move the text from Word to WordPress, I couldn’t make the format work from the laptop, so I’m back at my PC. That was 20 more minutes of my increasingly scarce time on Earth robbed by WordPress. I’m thinking of sending them an invoice...
Here’s Here’s Johnny’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Oh, Look! More Baseball Ethics Dunces! This Time, It’s the Baseball Writers’ Association of America”:
No, someone named Kennesaw Mountain would not be presumed to be from Maine. But, it can’t be that the name is so off-putting, can it? After all, Landis’s father fought in the 1864 Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (Georgia), against the Confederacy, and that’s how the commissioner got his name.
And, it couldn’t be the action by Landis when he suspended Yankees’ outfielder Jake Powell, who said that in an off-season job as a policeman, he used his nightstick on “niggers.” Landis suspended Powell for 10 days.
And, it couldn’t be that the press of the time was all against him, either, could it? In 1941, The Chicago Defender, a Black newspaper, printed a letter suggesting that the Negro Leagues could use a strong commissioner like Landis.His crime, essentially, was that he, in the first half of the 20th century, did not possess 21st century views and insights. A view that has currency now, thanks in part to Ibram X. Kendi’s best-selling book, “How to Be an Anti-Racist,” is that, in the moment, everyone is either a racist or an anti-racist. There is no neutral or middle ground. If the ‘moment’ is tenure as commissioner, then on that basis it could be said that Landis was not anti-racist, that he did not actively promote policies for equity, and that therefore he was a racist.
A counter point comes from an article in the summer 2009 edition of The Baseball Research Journal, in which Norman L. Macht wrote: “A historian who judges a man in the context of today’s time and standards and not the standards and conditions of the time in which the subject lived commits a scholarly sin. The attempt to understand people in their context and on their terms requires that we temporarily suspend judgment. Understanding the America of the 1920s and ’30s and ’40s obliges us to make the effort of not judging it by the standards and values of today.”