Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Playing on Empty: Orioles Host Ghost Game

No Entrance: Baseball - Baltimore Style

by Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken

What if they played a professional baseball game, but excluded the public? Sound Kafkaesque? Welcome to Baltimore, 2015!

To close a baseball game to the public and lock the fans out is representative of the state of “democracy” in the United States today.

The Baseball Czars decided that playing to rows of empty seats was more important and consistent with “American values” than having an actual baseball game. First, Baltimore issued a curfew for the citizens of the city; then they closed their schools; and then they closed the ballpark.

Well, who is baseball for, anyway? Certainly not for the fans. The billionaire owners are going to make their “employees” comply with their contract obligations and play, even to an empty stadium, with nobody there to root for either team. Money talks!

When they close the ballpark, will the “Stars and Stripes” be unfurled by the Baltimore police? Will it not be flown? What will happen when “the bombs bursting in air” rings out loud and clear over the loudspeaker to a population that is not invited to the game?

It makes one wonder whether the decision to play without fans is characteristic of our democracy: citizens need not attend. Corporate billionaires select candidates from both parties who will protect their interests, and then the rest of a passive electorate gets to choose which appointee they prefer.

This is similar to our policy decision-making processes, abroad and at home. The public has no voice as to whom we go to war with or what kind of weapons we use. We have no more say in whether a baseball game will be played in one of our nation’s cities than we do over military and CIA/NSA insiders who determine who lives, dies, and fights. We have no say over the creation of jobs in our communities; likewise, we have no say over the police and their continued killings of African-Americans every week.

The sounds of an empty stadium will be deafening.

Ready America? Play ball.

April 28, 2015

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