There is no rule stating that players have to be on the field or in the dugout during the anthem, although there was a note posted on each clubhouse door before Monday's game: "Be in the dugout for the National Anthem!" I cannot be sure, but I believe all players and coaches were standing along the two foul lines during the celebration of the reported death of Osama bin Laden.
But then Tuesday came, and Abraham got miffed,
when the National Anthem was performed, there were eight people standing outside the dugout, most of them Terry Francona and his coaches. The Angels had a few more, maybe 11. The note on the clubhouse door had been erased.Abraham's insistence upon "respect", while making a point in the context of celebrating someone's murder during an illegal invasion/occupation that has lasted almost 10 years, has killed or displaced more than 5,000,000 citizens of Iraq (estimates in 2007 were of 4 million), led to the torture and rape of innocent men, women, and children in secret concentration camps around the world (one camp was going to be in Illinois), cost US taxpayers nearly $1.2 trillion so far (the final total will likely top $3 trillion), and killed nearly 4,500 American troops and injured hundreds of thousands more (at least 320,000 veterans have severe brain injuries), seems somewhat incongruous, but maybe that's me.
Maybe there should be a rule. ...
To me, it's not asking too much for every player to [sic] on the field for the National Anthem and stand in something of a straight line for two minutes. I understand that MLB has players from countries across the globe and that the the [sic] song may not mean much, if anything, to some of them. ...
But do it anyway. Showing respect shouldn't be something that is occasional.
As I said in comments on Monday, I found the ceremony bizarre, disgusting, and devoid of anything except theatrical artifice. The decision to have the ceremony and drop the giant flag from the Wall was made -- not by MLB, as I first thought -- but by Red Sox ownership. I'm sickened and saddened by their decision to pander to the common bloodlust of the public in an arena that should not prize one political opinion over another.
Which brings me to the anthem. I believe the practice of playing the national anthem before sporting events should be abolished. If you step back far enough, it becomes a very strange idea. We do not play a recording of the anthem before we begin our jobs, or before we watch a play or movie, or before a marathon begins. The only apparent reason to keep doing it is "we've been doing it for a long time". Which is not a reason at all.
Jingoism, like religion, should be something that people can practice freely in their own homes, churches, or other meeting places, but not in public. If Red Sox fans want to sing the national anthem before a game, they can do it in their own homes before they leave their house, or maybe in their car on the drive to the park. If that sounds silly, then perhaps you'll understand how I feel when I think about the anthem being played in baseball parks.
The Red Sox showed no "respect" to those fans who may have disagreed with the idea of the ceremony, but came to the game unaware of what was going to happen, and likely (and understandably) felt under tremendous pressure to not voice or show any displeasure with what was going on, and to simply go along with the other 37,000 people.
If the anthem will not be canned - and it won't - then the pre-game ceremonies should include the national anthem of every player on either roster. For instance, at tonight's Red Sox/Angels game, to show the proper "respect" to every player in uniform, we should hear the national anthems of:
United StatesIn the end, Abraham pisses on the very idea of freedom that he implies is at the root of the celebration. In a nutshell, the US military is fighting for freedom and everyone should respect that. (Again, pro-military = normal; anti-military = political, which is bad and unwanted at a ball game.)
Abraham says he knows that not everyone cares about the US's national anthem, he truly understands that, but who the hell cares? In the name of freedom, do what you are told! Because it's all about "respect".