Hate monger says baseball’s post-9/11 use of “God Bless America” saved us from terrorist attacks

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I’m not a big fan of the singing of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch at baseball games.  Yes, I know why it started and it was a sweet and even beautiful thing for a short time after 9/11. But it soon ran its course and became yet another exercise in empty patriotism. Now it just crowds out “Take me out to the ballgame,” ices the road team pitcher and more or less intrudes upon the vibe of a perfectly good ballgame.

I realize not everyone agrees with those criticisms, but even if you don’t, how about trashing “God Bless America” on the grounds that a hate-mongering nutjob believes that that song being sung in ballparks caused God Himself to spare the United States from further terrorist attacks post-9/11?

The hate-monger is Bryan Fischer of the Christian group the American Family Association. Being a Christian is not what makes him a hate-monger, of course. Being a man who routinely accuses Muslims, Native Americans, African Americans, gays and Hispanics of causing the world’s ills is what makes him a hate-monger. Seriously, Google this guy.  Even run-of-the-mill bigots look at him and go “damn!”

Anyway, he has a theory. The video of it is below, but here’s a transcript. Note that he doesn’t say “terrorist attack.” He says “Muslim attack.”  Thinking that all Muslims are terrorists are one of Fischer’s many, many charms:

“By God’s blessing, we have not been hit by a Muslim attack since 9/11. I suggest that in part, we have Major League Baseball to thank. You remember that the week after 9/11 Major League Baseball converted the seventh inning stretch from the singing of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ to the singing of ‘God Bless America.’

“Now ‘God Bless America’ is not just a song, it is a prayer. When we sing that we are inviting God to bless America, to stand beside her and to guide her through the night with a light from above. So for one brief, shining moment every night, Major League Baseball has converted our stadiums into cathedrals in which tens of thousands of ordinary Americans lift their hearts and voices as one and ask God to watch over and protect the United States. Ladies and gentleman, I think that those prayers have been heard and they have been answered.”

If you want to believe that a little ditty that Irving Berlin wrote for a vaudeville revue called “Yip Yip Yaphank” — seriously — is truly a prayer, hey, I’m not going to stop you.  But I’m going to go on record as saying that if Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said that the sky was blue I’d fight to the death for the proposition that it was red.  Enjoy the video:

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.