Opinion: #BoycottMLB brigade is not the kind of fans baseball wants

In a mystifying development, people who apparently are baseball fans starved for the game’s return are joining a #BoycottMLB movement on Twitter. They’ve waited months for the return of the game they love, and now that it’s almost here, they want to boycott it.

Why would people who love baseball do such a thing? Apparently, some of them are angry that Dr. Anthony Fauci is throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ home opener Thursday evening. Many others are unhappy that a few San Francisco Giants took a knee Monday during the playing of the national anthem.

These people might call themselves baseball fans, but they really are little more than ideologues. They don’t like science, aren’t big fans of knowledge and despise the Black Lives Matter movement – or some combination of the three.

Just a guess, they might also be racists.

Several members of the San Francisco Giants kneel before the national anthem before Monday's exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo: Neville E. Guard, USA TODAY Sports)

President Donald Trump, never one to be left on the sidelines when there is trouble afoot, didn’t personally join the #BoycottMLB brigade but did add his own special brand of fuel to the fire:

“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!”

A question: Isn’t this the man who defends the Confederate flag and is fighting to keep U.S. military bases named for traitors who fought against this country?

A prediction: Trump is not going to be watching many sporting events this summer and fall.

If you have lived through the last eight weeks in America, how could you possibly be surprised by the Giants’ peaceful protests? Wherever sports have been played since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, in the United States and abroad, athletes have taken a knee, so of course baseball players are going to kneel.

Once the NBA and WNBA get started, kneeling will be commonplace, assuming the anthem is played beforehand. And if high school, college and pro football is played this fall, well, let’s just say Trump is not going to be happy.

The urge from Trump and the Twitterverse to hold onto these last vestiges of another time – a whiter, sexist, intolerant time – has been rebuffed by people who, interestingly enough, know a bit about fan behavior, selling tickets and marketing sports teams. In other words, successful capitalists who know exactly what works in 21st century America.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, when confronted with a tweet from a local radio talk show host who said he would be “OUT” if even one player kneels during the anthem, answered the broadcaster with a single word: “Bye.”

Meanwhile, MLB’s official Twitter account proudly featured a video Monday night of the Giants kneeling during the anthem, adding the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter for its 8.5 million followers.

Someone chimed in asking MLB to stop posting those kinds of videos, saying it was “a polarizing topic,” adding, “keep politics out of baseball!”

MLB offered a simple reply: “Supporting human rights is not political.”

Supporting human rights is not political.

MLB also tweeted and retweeted the video of Alyssa Nakken’s historic appearance as the first female coach in MLB history when she coached first base for the Giants Monday evening. 

The league clearly is on a roll. We’re talking about sports, obviously, but we’re also talking about progress, activism and equality. Boycott that at your peril, sports fans.   

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