The Central division of the National League has been cultivating one of the most under-the-radar schemes in all of sports. Between the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, a single division of National League baseball has been abruptly ruthless when it comes to getting a point across. Many of you, much like myself, enjoy baseball because of the simplicity of the sport. Some of us had our love for baseball seeded at an early age, while others “took time to grow” into the sport, as my father once said. If you may be so blessed (or cursed) as to be a fan of the Central Division in the National League, one thing is certain: THIS HAS BEEN ON YOUR RADAR FOR SOME TIME.
Protests. These things are everywhere. While we may not want to admit it, the inevitable has been taking place right under our noses. No, I’m not speaking about taking a knee during the anthem, or refusing to visit the White House. I am speaking of something much more intricate and diabolical, and it probably flew under everyone else’s radar. The NL Central has been taking part of protesting here lately. Exactly what makes this diabolical? Well, one division of baseball is taking anthem protesting to a whole new level and if you’ve watched all five of these teams, you’ve noticed that instead of actually protesting the national anthem during the playing of the national anthem, they are up to something much more elaborate and ingenious.
1) Pittsburgh Pirates: Protest via Sobriety.
Several days ago, Corey Long of the Associated Press released a story on how Pirates’ infielder, Jung Ho Kang, has been sober ever since a DUI arrest in 2016. Pirates fans get a pass for hitting the bottle. If I had to watch Sean Rodriguez square up with a cooler in a must-win game, I’d cradle the bottle post game as well. BUT A PLAYER? Pirates players have every right to hit the bottle. I’ve been wrong before, but this is not one of those times. To have an infielder protest the anthem in this manner is ground breaking. Such protests have not been seen since Dock Ellis protested president Dick Nixon by throwing a no-hitter while on LSD. One cannot help but tip his or her pirate hat to that, matey.
2) St. Louis Cardinals: Protest via Exclusion
The deranged, demented, and foolish “Redbirds” are at it again and by “it,” I mean not even participating. Aside from acquiring Dexter Fowler from the Cubbies during the off-season, the Cardinals have been, well, the Cardinals. While currently in third place in the division, the only thing protruding from the seemingly flawless Card’s fans is their disappointment in Fowler; which is far from unexpected. When a team refuses to participate in protests (i.e. the 2017 Dallas Cowboys), that team seemingly flutters into irrelevancy. For Card’s fans, irrelevancy is not what they dream of or even hope for, but it is what they deserve. When an organization seems to lack ALL SELF-AWARENESS and continues to sit idly by, well good riddance. Go back to the NL East.
3) Chicago Cubs: Protest via “Injury.”
While the Chicago Cubs have a profound fan base (much like many recently crowned champions), many of the fans have not taken likely to the latest protest in the division. Ironic? Certainly. Although born in Osaka, Japan, Yu Darvish’s voice is heard throughout the entirety of America, Illinois, and North Side Chicago. America hears you, Yu. Enough is enough. So how can a Japanese born player be heard? By not playing at all. Yu Darvish has reportedly been “unable” to take the mound until as late as post all-star game baseball emerges. What’s more American than the All-Star game? Invoking your First Amendment right to protest by sitting down, shutting the fuck up, and refusing to stand up until this plague of injustice is solved. Or until after the break– whichever comes first. All things considered, this is the gutsiest protest I’ve stumbled upon since Rick Monday protested that guy burning a flag in the outfield at Wrigley.
4) Cincinnati Reds: Protest via Attendance.
The Reds’ fan base has received the message loud and clear. “STAY HOME” banners might as well be waving in the outfield from Great American Ballpark. I get that the Reds organization needed to get the point across to their fans, but to make it obvious enough to where all of baseball notices is beyond arrogant. Between a combination of (speculated) intentional piss-poor performance and overall inability to win baseball games, Red’s fans have complied with protest demands by averaging a measly 44.3% attendance. Kudos Reds. Message received.
5) Milwaukee Brewers: Protest via Winning.
Balls of steel is exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers have been dragging around the bases this season. Unwavering during these times of political fire, the Brew Crew keeps delivering on their promise to keep baseball hot-n-steamy. As if the sausage racing wasn’t enough, the Brewers heated things up in the division by doing exactly what they had to do in order to gain attention: win. Historically, America strives to have domestic peace. Protesting causes unexpected rifts in our society, potentially compromising domestic peace. Well the bolstering Brewers have done just that this season by winning baseball games and compromising the entire division’s peace. The Cardinals have reigned down long enough, and Milwaukee is an endorsement of just that. All they had to do was protest this whole time.
The NL Central is not the only group of teams who have colluded against the sacred anthem in order to get the point across. (New) Yankee Stadium should be rendered as ahead of its time. Yankee Stadium has proudly been protesting social injustice since 2009 by intentionally putting ticket holder’s in seating that prohibits them from viewing the field of play. The Miami Marlins and rookie owner Derek Jeter have been showing strong signs of tenacity by disallowing the use of the orange alternate jerseys this season and consistently giving Marlins Man (Laurence Leavy) the shit end of the stick. Go Marlins! I pray that one day, we as a country, can be as woke as Major League Baseball. Amen.