LADY AT THE BAT: God Bless The Stadium

Friday, May 11, 2007

God Bless The Stadium

When the Yankees agreed to give Roger Clemens his family clause earlier this week, the general cry from those outside of Yankees Universe was that the team had let down its standards. The rules that made it clear there was no "I" in team would soon be no more. The team that went about its business in a conservative, no fooling around manner would be no more.

Yesterday I was wondering if that included doing away with the singing of God Bless America at the start of the Seventh Inning Stretch. After the tragedy on September 11, 2001, all 30 Major League teams began playing the song at the start of the 7th inning of every game. Eventually teams were told it only had to be played on Sundays and on holidays. The New York Yankees are the only team which continues to play it every single game, thanks to George Steinbrenner. Now comes the revelation that, in the name of freedom, fans at The Stadium lose theirs when Kate Smith's voice comes over the PA system. No one is allowed to move or speak and security guards even use chains to keep fans from venturing into the Stadium aisles. The Yankees claim they do this at request of the fans themselves, who were hurt at the sight of people moving around the stands during the song.

Did the hurt fans shout "Communist!" at the moving fans? I was at The Stadium a few years ago when fans in my section shouted that to a few guys who hadn't removed their caps for God Bless America. I thought (and still think) it was funny. It was hard to contain my laughter. I also remember the huge cries on a Yankee message board for Jose Contreras' head, after he left for the clubhouse, rather than stand on the top dugout steps for the song. Then there were the outcries on the same Yankee message board for the hanging of Carlos Delgado, who said he wouldn't stay on the field for God Bless America if the Mets played it.

As a life-long New Yorker who lived through the events of September 11, 2001, I can understand the emotions attached to the playing of God Bless America. Though I lost no friends or loved-ones that day, I still was devastated and cried along with everyone else. However, I believe that, at this point, all the song does is remind people that there's a war going on right now that might have been totally unnecessary. It is high-time that the New York Yankees stop playing God Bless America.

The Lady

[Thanks Oriole Post]

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