NBC blogger looks to pick fight with millions, proposes “putting ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ out to pasture”

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Not me! I swear! Even though I pretty much agree with everything Off The Bench’s Rick Chandler says in his post today about getting rid of “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem:*

Now, no one loves America more than me, except perhaps Apollo Creed. But I say it may be time to put The Star-Spangled Banner out to pasture, and let another song have its turn as our National Anthem. The SSB is impossible to sing, the lyrics are hard to remember and it’s too long. Also there’s always the chance the Christina Aguilera could get her hands on it again. In the age of micro technology, The Star-Spangled Banneris a papyrus scroll in a clay jar. If I instead sing America the Beautiful or Hail, Columbia or Ain’t That Americaby John Mellancamp, it doesn’t mean that I love the USA any less. I’m still singing, for God’s sake. It’s just different words that mean the same thing.

For me it’s not a matter of aesthetics or what pop singers often do to it before ballgames as much as it’s about what is most laudable about our country. Do we praise the flag itself? That seems narrow. The bombs bursting in air? Beside the point.  I’m all about the purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain, so I’d go with “America the Beautiful.”

Well, that and equality and the little guy, but no one would ever go for “This Land is Your Land” once the FOX news people started going on about how it’s a commie anthem.

 

*No, there’s no baseball content here, but since the Anthem is such a big part of the going to the ballpark experience, it’s fair game. Sort of like the kiss cam.

The St. Louis Cardinals announce their first Pride Night

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will hold their first Pride Night on August 25th.

A lot of teams have Pride Nights, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals are holding one given some bad press — some fair, some unfair — they have received in recent years when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this month the club received criticism from the LGBT community due to Lance Berkman’s presence for the team’s annual Christian Day, given his past comments about transgender people and his participation in a Houston political campaign over access to public restrooms. Recently, a former Cardinals minor league player claimed he left baseball after enduring anti-gay comments from his coaches and teammates.

As club president Bill DeWitt III noted in the official announcement however, the Cardinals have hosted LGBT groups in the past. He says that the club is eager to “remind fans that everyone is welcome at Busch Stadium.” He notes that the event will raise money for the PrideSTL Scholarship Fund which, in DeWitt’s words, “help courageous students in our community.”

Nice move, Cardinals.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.