Mind you, the “God Bless America” fiasco could have been avoided if MLB hadn’t made it part of the seventh inning stretch ceremonies after 9/11.
Now that it’s become an issue, though, how’s this for an idea: drop the song completely.
The break between innings has been made shorter this season as part of the commissioner’s pace of play fetish. Between that song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (which has a much longer tradition behind it), the ever-popular DanceCam/KissCam, and the various staged races (presidents, dots, sausages, etc., etc., etc.), that pause between halves of the seventh inning is getting increasingly crowded.
This is a great opportunity to drop “God Bless America” and return to the status quo ante.
Not going to happen, though. Any attempt to remove the song will be spun as an attack on Christianity, just like the non-existent, so-called “War on Christmas”. Or, for that matter, the protests against restoring the Pledge of Allegiance to its original wording by removing “under God”.
Which is, of course, the whole problem in a nutshell.
Keeping the song offends those of us who think the proper place for deities at sporting events is in the stands, like all the other spectators*. That its presence is also offensive to non-Christians is merely the raspberry buttercream on the chocolate cake.
* Let’s be blunt here: a baseball player’s five tools are hitting for average and power, fielding, throwing, and baserunning. Nothing on that list about praying or otherwise getting God to work a few miracles on behalf of his team.
Removing it offends team owners’ wallets. Or, at least that’s what they think. “A highly visible boycott? Heaven forfend!”
Did you know, by the way, that baseball attendance has not been in decline? For all the fuss the commissioner has made about needing new fans, the total annual attendance across all MLB stadiums since 2000 has consistently been right around 72.5 million. (Which does, by the way, suggest that “God Bless America” has neither helped nor hurt baseball.)
The disruption to tradition hasn’t been in support of rescuing a dying fanbase. It’s about increasing profits, now that ticket prices have reached the point where any further increase would lower demand.
Not that that should surprise anybody.
God Bless Baseball. Some god. Any volunteers? Let’s not always see the same hands…