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The Art of the Game -- Baseball and Politics

Sheriff John Montgomery

The Art of the Game – Baseball and Politics

 Two years ago today, I wrote this newsletter after a watching a nasty primary unfold. Today, the day after the election it seems even more fitting than it did two years ago. Please read;

My very wonderful and hip wife, Karen has cleverly figured out how to create the perfect vacation for me.  She looks at the St. Louis Cardinal’s ‘away game’ baseball schedule, picks her favorite cities and schedules trips when the Cardinals are playing in that city.  A lot of you know that I have been a St. Louis Cardinal fan since I was very young and grew up listening to the games on KMOX on an AM radio.

As a result, Karen and I had a wonderful vacation in San Francisco a few weeks ago.    We love to get away to big cities and indulge in great food, entertainment, people watching, and of course, watching the Cardinals play baseball.  These trips are the perfect way to experience a fast-paced lifestyle and the excitement it offers – which serves to make us appreciate our lives in Mountain Home all the more.

So, there we were at the Giants Stadium (right on the bay with kayaks waiting to catch balls knocked out of the park).   In addition to creating perfect vacations, Karen has also figured out how to snag perfect seats at these games.  We were five rows behind home plate where we could see and hear all of the action including the player and umpire conversations.

Not surprisingly, we had two very passionate Giants fans sitting right next to us.  They introduced themselves and gave us a friendly razzing about being Cardinal fans.  As the game went along, their passion for the game became more obvious.  They had taken heckling to a higher art form.  The crowd was laughing over their clever barbs to the umpires, and their badgering was applied equally to the Giants and the Cardinals players.  They applauded when a Cardinals player made an outstanding play and they acknowledged when their own Giants player made a mistake -- and not once did they insult us or say anything negative because we were St. Louis fans.

So what does this have to do with politics?  When the game was over, the two brothers, Thomas and Peter shook our hands and thanked us for adhering to the Baseball Fan Code of Ethics.  Seeing my puzzled expression, they went on to explain that they too traveled to different cities to see their Giants team play.  As loud as they were at their own stadium, they believed they should never razz or yell out comments against the other team when they were in a visiting stadium.  They also made it very clear that while during the game we may be rivals, once the game was over, we were friends.  They happily recommended restaurants and sites that we must see while visiting.  We exchanged email addresses and walked away feeling that we had made some new friends.

At dinner that night, Karen and I were discussing the game.  Another Giants fan had commented to her on the subway about how politely the Cardinals fans had behaved during the game and that they acknowledged great plays by both teams.  We concluded that if people would simply appreciate the ‘Art of the Game’ and celebrate the great moments, they might just go away with a deeper understanding and respect for the talent and dedication on the field.   

One rule my father always had was to never discuss politics or religion over dinner or a gathering.  He had watched it cause hard feelings and damage friendships...but, why does it have to be this way?

Why can’t we cheer for our team, our beliefs and our passions but respect each other’s opinions and beliefs?  …

Why can’t we acknowledge and appreciate someone’s talent and dedication regardless of their political party? …

Why do we have to get so angry not only during the ‘game’ but carry that anger with us afterwards? …

Why can’t we still be friends when the ‘game’ is over? …

Why can’t we remember we are all Americans and we all should be fighting for the same cause? …

When will we learn that what is in the heart and soul of the politician is more important than the letter behind their name? …

When will we learn to appreciate The Art of the Game?

Baseball Fan Code of Ethics...  I think there might be something to be learned here.  It makes me wonder if there was ever a Politics Code of Ethics and if so, where did it go?

Sheriff John Montgomery