By Christopher Harper
Like most of my friends in the Boomer generation, I loved baseball as a kid.
My friends and I traded baseball cards. We’d oil our gloves during the winter months in anticipation of the spring.
If we weren’t practicing with a team, we’d hustle to the makeshift diamond our parents built in a nearby vacant lot.
I played second base. I didn’t quite have the arm of a shortstop. I usually batted second or third in the lineup because I was a good hitter.
When I was eight, I wrote a letter to the New York Yankees and got a bundle full of photos, autographs, and information about the team. When I visited San Francisco a few years later, my father bought me a baseball with all of the team’s autographs, including future Hall of Famers Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, and Willie McCovey.
My love affair with baseball was sealed in Yankee pinstripes and Giant orange and black!
As a journalist, I covered a wide range of sporting events, including afternoon games at Wrigley Field in Chicago and Harry Caray’s seventh-inning songfest. I wrote a profile of Rod Carew, who won six batting titles.
Later in life, I flew into Chicago from Beirut to see the White Sox in the 1983 playoffs. I enjoyed the Yankees of the 1990s when I lived there, and even took my 9-year-old daughter to a game. I relished the Phillies of 2008, where I now live, and their World Series win.
But those memories have become tainted by the politically correct version of baseball today. Baseball used to be a game I could attend with my friends and talk baseball, not politics.
Today I have two heroes left in the game. One is San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod, the only player to stand rather than take a knee, telling reporters after the game that as a Christian he “can’t kneel before anything besides God.”
The other is Bryce Harper, who revealed a sports coat honoring the Phanatic and a pair of cleats that included feathers emblematic of the Phillies mascot. That was fun!
Whatever the case, I’ve watched my last baseball game until it becomes a game again rather than a political statement. I hope others feel the same way! Maybe Major League Baseball will get the message.