Observations from The Beer Man — “Bigger Than Baseball”
I had a difficult time getting excited for the game today. I started my day with an awkward conversation with someone I dearly love about the police presence in Ferguson three years ago compared to the police presence in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. Before I had my morning coffee or breakfast I clumsily tried to make the point that the difference between the police presence at the two events is very telling in terms of how police resources are deployed among different populations and what that says about the nature of this country. I didn’t articulate the point well. I’m still not articulating it well. It feels so obvious that words shouldn’t be necessary and yet to some it’s not obvious making words totally necessary and I can never quite seem to find the right ones.
The conversation didn’t go well. It stayed with me all day.
Some things are bigger than baseball.
The Cardinals winning streak came to an end today. They seemed flat. They couldn’t hit RA Dickey’s knuckleball. Matheny tinkered with the line-up as he so often likes to do. Molina, Fowler, and Gyrko were all out of the starting line-up. Kelly, Pham, and Garcia took their places. The crowd was flat. The team was flat. The beer however was not flat. It was ice cold of course and sales were actually pretty good. The highlight of the game for me was that my Uncle was in attendance. I saw him and his buddy before the game. They were sitting an area I usually work so I saw them throughout the game. They bought six beers from me. The game was still going on when I had cashed out for the night so I watch the last inning with my Uncle and his friend. There’s nothing quite like family and baseball. It was great to catch up.
The Cardinals threatened in the 8th but couldn’t get any runs across. The wining streak is over at 8 games with Atlanta coming out on top 6–3.
All day long the events that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend and the repercussions of those events have constantly been on my mind. I see a lot of white people expressing fear and outrage at the open display of violent white supremacy who seem to be unwilling or unable to connect the dots to their own role in the self perpetuating system of white supremacy. It occurs to me that a good first stop to eradicating racist ideology is to call it out each and every time we see it, big or small, it doesn’t matter. Don’t give it oxygen. Don’t give it light. Squash it out time and time again until it is gone. It exists in our culture everywhere. It is so baked in to the American Pie that we often don’t even notice. For the past three days the Cardinals have been playing the “Atlanta Braves”. Have you have seen Atlanta baseball fans do the “Tomahawk Chop”? It’s super racist and it’s right under our noses. Thousands of people do it at every Atlanta baseball game. We don’t get to allow such displays and then act surprised, scared, or offended when the KKK and Nazis openly take to the streets engaging in racist violence. Who gets to decide which openly racist displays are acceptable?
You don’t need to be a racist to participate in and thereby perpetuate a racist system. We all do it everyday usually without even noticing.
This isn’t something happening in Charlottesville . Most of the people who participated in the shameful cowardly acts of racism on display this weekend do not call Charlottesville home. They are from all over the country. They are our colleagues, our teachers, our students, our coaches, our doctors, our business associates, our friends, and our families. This is happening here, there, and everywhere throughout our country. It has been happening for centuries. We live in a white supremacist nation. We always have.
As I was leaving the stadium I saw 4 very large policemen gathered on the sidewalk huddled around an older black man and a younger black woman on the sidewalk. The young women appeared impaired and in need of medical attention. The sight of this group gave me pause. It was not entirely clear what was happening. I found a spot where I could stand off to the side within earshot to observe this interaction. After awhile a medical cart from the stadium and began to administer care to the woman. The situation was diffusing so I continued on my way. There was something about the sight of four rather large muscular police officers with shaved heads towering over this black man and woman on the sidewalk that struck me as an appropriate metaphor for the day.
Cards are on the road for a bit. See you at the ballpark after the road trip.
Cardinals 3 Atlanta 6