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The Checkered Flag

24 June 2020 Views From The Booth Sports

Winchester Printers

Greetings From The Booth!

First, your baseball update. It looks like, after months of back-and-forth proposals and some rancor on both sides, we’re going to have a Major League Baseball season after all. As was his right to do under a March agreement, Commissioner Rob Manfred put a stop to the childish “you can’t make me” foolishness, and set a 60-game 2020 schedule that will begin either July 23rd or 24th.

I’m not going to lie, this all has left a sour taste in my mouth. As one MLB player put it, “we took a bad thing (the pandemic), and we made it worse.” As the weeks have gone by, I’ve missed baseball less,
so I think MLB has a big job ahead as they try to lure fans back to the game.

This will not be like your father’s baseball season. A baseball season is usually a marathon, but this will be more like a sprint. There will be more urgency to win, so you’ll see managers treating games like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. A warning to the defending champion Nationals: anything like last year’s infamous 19-31 start cannot be overcome in a 60-game schedule.

The DH will now be used in both leagues. I’m more of a traditionalist, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that pitchers in the NL hit .128 last year. And, extra inning games will start with a runner on second base. I’m sure at some point we’ll have the ol’ “invisible man” rule from our childhood.

Finally, most of us were horrified at the apparent hanging of a noose this past weekend at Talladega in the garage stall of NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace. Wallace successfully led the movement to get the Confederate Flag banned at NASCAR events. But old ways die hard, especially in a sport with deep Southern roots like stock car racing.

We were equally heartened by the unanimous show of support and unity by the circuit’s other 39 drivers and crews, as they symbolically pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field before Monday’s race.
It was a defining moment for NASCAR, as they try to erase the stigmas and stereotypes of the past.

Alas, it turns out after an FBI investigation, the noose-like rope was apparently a pull rope for a garage door that was hung back in October, when no one could have known that particular stall would have been assigned to Wallace. Thus, the FBI has ruled out a hate crime. NASCAR is still investigating. And you can bet that there will be fan backlash following the FBI finding.

In any case, this incident reminds us that the sensitivity gauge is in the red when it comes to the symbolism of nooses and flags.
Maybe the flag we really need to pay attention to is the checkered flag, a piece of cloth that has but two colors–black and white–and is waved at the end of a race when a winner crosses the finish line.

That finish line seems to be many laps away…

Until the next visit from the Booth…be good to each other, and GO HORNETS!


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