My earliest memory is jumping over the couch when the Phillies won the 1980 World Series. I played centerfield once at Veterans Stadium, right next to Lenny Dykstra’s tobacco stains on the turf. When my infant son had surgery in the Bronx ten years ago and a couple of Yankees came through the recovery wing to sign autographs, I politely declined on my son’s behalf.
I might have said, “Tell me when Chase Utley gets here.” I’m a Phillies fan, and I hate the stinking Atlanta Braves, but even I love them more than Democratic Georgia U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who won’t say if they should keep their name.
I really do hate the Braves. That isn’t hyperbole. When Curt Schilling was mowing those pretty boys down in the 1993 NLCS and John Kruk was slamming a homer for every beer and manager Jim Fregosi was sneaking cigarettes in the dugout, I was in my bliss.
After that season, the Braves joined the Phillies in the NL East. Why Atlanta had a team in the NL West in the first place is another matter for another time. But the Braves would win division crown after division crown and have the temerity to win only one World Series. They were like a 1960s Boston Celtics that actually sucked.
Anyway, that’s my history with the underperforming Braves. So when I heard that leftists were itching for the ball team’s name to be changed, my initial reaction was, “I have some ideas — they’re very colorful and involve animals.”
But in fact, my reaction was ultimately sadness at the realization that this will probably happen, and for no good reason. I’m going to have to hate the Atlanta Aggrieved, or whatever they call themselves.
This is the kind of thing that is treated as a very small matter, but actually isn’t. Polling shows that more that 70 percent of Georgians want the name of their awful baseball team to remain unchanged. I don’t want to be cynical, but I can’t help but wonder if this might explain why brave Ossoff and Warnock don’t want to set up a teepee in either camp. Side with the traditionalists, and they could spark the ire of the left; go full PC social justice warrior and the average Georgian might take a pass.
This is exactly why David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler should press this issue. It is a perfect stand-in for the parade of horribles that a Democratic Senate could open the door to. Court-packing, DC statehood, abolishing the Electoral College, you name it. If Ossoff and Warnock demure on the question on the Braves, it will show two things: One, that they are at least open to radicalism, and two, that they do not trust voters to know what they really believe.
Piece by piece the country, the architecture of its ideology, the bones of its buttresses are being stripped away and replaced with mindless bromides. There is nothing offensive about naming a baseball team the Braves in honor of American Indians. You don’t name your team after something you hate or deride. Nobody in Brooklyn would name his team The Queens.
This is all a fantasyland of corporate wokeness at this point. In fact, the owners might get a windfall if people go out to buy the gear of the newly named Atlanta Anticlimax. There will be winners when the name soon changes, is my point. But among them will not be Braves fans, Phillies fans, and Mets fans (although, if it hurts Mets fans…). Among them will also not be fans of baseball and history, fans of fathers and sons, daughters and moms sharing allegiance to a team– or, in my case, swearing an oath of hatred against one.
I’m born and raised in Philly, I live in Brooklyn, not for nothing but what do I know from Georgia. I don’t even own a carpet bag. But I do know this, gang. There is no reason for the garbage Atlanta Braves to change their name. If Warnock and Ossoff think there is debate about this, they should explain why.
The new Democratic Party mantra seems to be, “You have to elect me to know what I’ll do.” It’s not good enough. Just take a position, guys. Make a stand. The voters might even respect you for it.