Just one week after writing about The Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events, a subject I never thought I’d have to revisit again, our psychotic times have once again brought me back to our national anthem.
In case you missed it, the San Diego Padres made international news this week when they had a technical error during the pregame playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. If you wonder why such trivia created such a fuss, hang on to your hats. The scheduled singers that night were the San Diego Gay Men’s Choir, and, as we know, the demigods of political correctness don’t like it when bad things happen to their own. As quick as one can send out a tweet, the Padres were accused of deep dark homophobic conspiracies, and calls for investigations rang out from the land as if the Padres had perpetrated the crime of the century.
The Reader’s Digest version of events from the night of May 21st is as follows: The San Diego Padres had the San Diego Gay Men’s Choir scheduled to sing a live version of the National Anthem before a game. As they stood by ready to sing, the Padres had a technical malfunction and in error played a taped version of the anthem sung by a female singer instead.
In better times this would have been chalked up as human error, and the San Diego Gay Men’s Choir would have been invited back another night and all would have been well. Instead, under intense pressure the Padres did a speedy and comprehensive investigation, and quickly terminated a third party contractor and disciplined one of their own employees, even though the investigation determined there was no malice or intent in the error. Of course no incident of this sort is complete without the proper corporate genuflecting to demigods of political correctness which the Padres did in a statement saying in part, “The Padres organization is proud of our commitment to inclusion — within both our sport and our community.”
As for DJ Artform (or so he bills himself), the gentleman who got fired for a simple mistake, he too made sure to appease the right people saying, “I’ve let down my city, my family and everyone who had faith in me.” Oh, brother. DJ Artform sounds like he has attended one too many sensitivity classes in his lifetime, but his groveling may pay off as the San Diego Gay Men’s Choir has asked that he be reinstated to his job.
As if this molehill couldn’t become more of a mountain, Major League Baseball called in Billy Bean to look into things. Bean is billed as MLB’s Ambassador of Inclusion. What is an Ambassador of Inclusion you might ask? When MLB hired Bean they described his role as to “provide guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community throughout Major League Baseball.” Worry not. Bean, who is a former big league player who happens to be gay, concluded like the Padres that this was a simple slip-up.
Whatever happened to understanding, compassion, and realizing that mistakes happen? Players drop fly balls, people push the wrong buttons, we are all mere humans, and such mistakes will happen to all of us from time to time. Have we become so sensitive as a nation, that any time something like this happens we need to make it such a big deal? If the American psyche has really become this fragile we are no longer fit for the rigors this world demands.
Many years ago I ran a minor league baseball team. I invited the Mayor to throw out the first pitch before a game as a civic courtesy. I should mention now that this Mayor is today a major figure in national politics. As the Mayor stood on the playing field waiting for the first pitch, we were scheduled to play the National Anthem first. We announced to our fans to please rise for the National Anthem, and our PA Announcer hit the wrong button and played the sixties pop hit Secret Agent Man by mistake. I assume, if I was part of such heresy today, I would have to be shot at dawn. But back then we could laugh, learn, and move on from our mistakes. The Mayor later threw out the pitch, and didn’t bat an eye at our miscue. Our players showing a sense of humor, that now seems lacking, stood at attention for the rest of season whenever we played Secret Agent Man between innings.