Oh, Great: Baseball Turned Bernie Sanders Into A Socialist

First the sign-stealing scandal, and now this.

It is, apparently not exactly a new revelation that having his juvenile heart broken by a baseball team set Bernie Sanders on the dark road that had stops in Moscow and the Workers’ Paradise, but it is a timely moment to expound on the tale, readying as the Vermont Senator is to tear the Democratic Party asunder.

Many distinguished Americans of a certain age, from historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to Old Blues Eyes himself have waxed nostalgic about Walter O’Malley’s great betrayal, when he yanked the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers away from their iconic Ebbets Field home to the corrupt embrace of La La Land.

As  baseball fans know *or should), the year was 1957. The Brooklyn Dodgers, affectionately called “Dem Bums” by  the locals, had finally rewarded their community with a World Series championship over the hated Bronx-dwelling Yankees in 1955. Then, on a day that lives in infamy, Dodgers owner O’Malley announced that the team was leaving. (So were their National League rivals, the New York Giants, heading to San Francisco.) The Dodgers were a massive part of the Brooklyn community’s self-image, and the degree of trauma  it suffered cannot be underestimated. Bernie suffered too, and the scars still ache. Sanders told the Times in a recent interview:

“It was like they would move the Brooklyn Bridge to California. How can you move the Brooklyn Bridge to California?… I don’t want to tell you that was the sole reason that I’ve developed the politics that I’ve developed. But as a kid, I did see in that case about the greed of one particular company. And that impacted me.”

And here we are. In one of the more dramatic examples of Chaos Theory in action and the Law Of Unexpected Consequences, an upheaval in the  national pastime started the dominoes tumbling that threaten the Democratic Party and the nation’s economic stability 63 years later. What fun! Continue reading

Baseball and Civil Rights: Doing the Right Thing, Kicking and Screaming

“The Biz of Baseball” discusses a historical document proving that even as Jackie Robinson was preparing to make his color barrier-shattering debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, an internal committee examining the race issue for Major League Baseball was arguing that integrating the teams at the time would be a mistake. Author Maury Brown concludes:

“As the 1946 steering committee document shows, there were those at the highest level of the sport that saw African-American players as beneath the quality of their White counterparts, and that they saw the influx of African-American fans as something that would lower franchise values. Take that in, as baseball takes credit for being at the front of the Civil Rights movement.”

Major League Baseball is engaged in just such a credit-taking exercise now, as it prepares to host its annual ” Civil Rights Game, “an  exhibition between the Cardinals and Reds in Cincinnati. Continue reading