Baseball is more than a sport; it's an icon, very closely associated with all things "American". To that end it is often used by politicos as simple and effective base-strengthening jingoism. Many of these same lawmakers, quick to wrap themselves in any kind of American iconography they can get their hands on
in order to maintain their popularity, are responsible for the passage of H.R. 4437. This bill, also known as "The Sensenbrenner Bill", is one of the most draconian, xenophobic, and borderline racist legislative acts in this country's history. (For the record, our own Rep. Charles Taylor, who has served as a very reliable anti-immigration voice on Capitol Hill during his eight Congressional terms, voted "YEA" on this bill.)
Keeping that in mind, the fact that some of the game's greatest players have come from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, and Panama is even more ironic than rain on your wedding day. Don't you think?
One of my fondest childhood memories was the first time my parents took me to Anaheim Stadium to see an Angels game in 1979. Rod Carew, Hall of Famer and inarguably a living legend here in the US as well as his native Panama, was the lead-off batter at the bottom of the first inning, and I still remember how excited I was when he knocked the first pitch over the left-center field wall! I don't think I slept that night.
Baseball is not only our national pasttime, but it is also an important part of Latin America's cultural ties to the United States, ties that should be celebrated and not hidden behind a wall or locked away in a Halliburton prison. And what better way to celebrate those ties than by spending an evening at the ballpark?
That's right! It's Spring again, and this coming "Thirsty" Thursday the Asheville chapter of Drinking Liberally will be temporarily abandoning the dark, cozy confines of Jack of the Wood and meeting instead at McCormick Field to watch our very own Asheville Tourists take on the West Virginia Power! Cheap beer! Fresh air! Ballpark food! And, among many other things, we will be discussing several of the possibly negative effects of the Sensenbrenner Bill, which could very well include a chilling effect against teams who regularly scout players in Latin America.
Remember, everyone is welcome, so come on out to the Ol' Ball Game and join us!
Thursday, May 11
McCormick Field (for directions and other info visit the Asheville Tourists' web site)
Game starts @ 7:05 pm
General admission seats - $7 adults, $6 kids/seniors/military
We'll be in the concrete bleachers along the first base line. Look for the signs!
NOTE - there are showers and thunderstorms in the forecast over the next couple of days, so in case of a rainout we'll be meeting at Jack of the Wood instead.
(For an excellent website about the history of Hispanic players in Major League Baseball, visit http://latinobaseball.com/)