Angry Ward Wednesday: More Day Baseball, More Black Players, No More Kate Smith

BRONX, NY – It’s spring break week for New York City public school kids, which means I’m playing childcare tag with a few other parents as we all try to figure out ways to still get to work. As far as math problems go, it’s not as difficult as it might sound. The bigger issue is finding fun things for the kids to do, that won’t make you (the parent) insane. As the lone native New Yorker of this small group, I usually make Camp Angry Ward all about getting into the city and doing New York kinda stuff. This week, I was hoping against hope that maybe the Mets would have one of those “getaway day” Thursday day games, but, no dice. I blame the Cubs, for setting this thing in motion.

The absolute dearth of day baseball is one of my major complaints about MLB. I understand that there’s not a lot of money or TV ratings to be made off of a weekday game in April, but day games are still a great way of getting kids interested in your product. There used to be a lot of day games on Saturdays, but even that is more the exception than the rule now. It’s Sundays or nothing, pretty much. Basically baseball doesn’t seem all that concerned about attracting young fans and keeping them engaged. This last piece is especially true among African-Americans.

I know MLB initiated RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I grew up watching baseball in the ’70s and ’80s and can say with absolute certainty that the game is missing out by not having more black players. I’m not just talking about once-in-a-generation talents like Aaron and Bonds and Griffey Jr. Guys likes Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Bill Madlock, Al Oliver and countless others were stars in their own right, and the backbone of the bigs. Missing players like these, makes Major League Baseball a lesser product, in my opinion. There are no easy fixes, which is what everyone is looking for these days, but there’s got to be more of an effort than what’s currently being made. Although, not all the news is bad.

It looks like MLB is finally ridding itself of Kate Smith. It took some horribly-racist recordings that were hiding in plain sight for years, but that’s beside the point. The elimination of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” from baseball games should be an end to anyone singing it. Ever since 9/11 we’ve been on patriotic overkill. The 7th Inning Stretch is for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and hustling to get one last beer, and that’s it. If you have what you consider a strong argument for this relatively new “tradition” to stick around, I’d like to hear it. Otherwise, isn’t watching America’s Pastime, American enough?

I suppose I could write about the upcoming NFL draft but, once Ben Whitney passed, I thought I’d leave that task for Buddy Diaz. He should be back in his new Thursday slot tomorrow. Though, ya never know.



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About Angry Ward 752 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.