Here Are Three Political Storylines to Watch in Baseball This Year

Photograph Source abrowncoat – CC BY-SA 2.0

For many Americans, Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season elicits memories of childhood: playing with friends in the waning daylight hours, the crack of leather on leather as ball meets glove, and the feel of the sun on skin as it finally melts away the ossified remnants of the cold, dark winter. Baseball is far more than merely a game as it is intrinsically imbued with metaphors for Spring, rebirth, hope for a better future.

And in a very real sense, both progressives and conservatives attempt to lay claim to these almost metaphysical concepts as baseball, like all human activities, is inherently political.

For a progressive, the new season might represent the immutable march forward, the belief that what comes next must be made better than what came before. For a conservative, it might evoke childhood and the idyllic past when things were simple, knowable, and good. And so, in a sense, baseball belongs to everyone.

But this is 2019, a bumbling orange fascist sits in the White House, and nothing is pure. In this Hobbesian nightmare of neoliberal America where the war of all against all is scorched earth, and where collateral damage is measured in unfollows and blocks, baseball is not some apolitical sanctuary to which one can retreat. It is not the redoubt of harmonious fellowship and competition within which human conflicts and existential social crises simply recede into the ether. Rather, baseball (like all…

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