We need baseball now more than ever

Normally, the Colorado Rockies making the Major League Baseball playoffs would be cause for celebration. It’s a big deal because it’s a rare feat.

Usually by October, Colorado sports fans have turned their full attention to the Broncos because the Rockies have fallen out of contention. But this year, the Rox celebrated their first playoff appearance in eight years after the Milwaukee Brewers were mathematically eliminated on Saturday. The players sprayed champagne in the clubhouse after losing a meaningless game to the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

A day later, the heart-breaking news out of Las Vegas changed the tenor of the postseason for the players and fans. The shocking and senseless mass shooting has imbued the playoffs with a sense of survivor’s guilt. How are we supposed to get excited about something as trivial as a baseball game when so many of our fellow Americans are suffering through the aftereffects of an unspeakable tragedy?

Compounding those chastened feelings is the knowledge that people died in Las Vegas in the pursuit of a good time. They were at a concert, which isn’t much different from attending a ballgame. Those fortunate enough to watch a playoff game in person will be gripped by an uneasy wariness — images of the Las Vegas carnage flickering through their heads.

Yet, we need baseball to help re-establish a sense of normalcy. America’s pastime is much better equipped to be a healing balm for this country than any other professional sport.

For one thing, it hasn’t been rocked by demonstrations during the national anthem like the National Football League has — maybe because it’s such an international game. Nearly 30 percent of MLB players were born outside the country.

Regardless of the reason, baseball doesn’t carry the baggage as a source of division. We don’t expect that to suddenly change. If they’re smart, MLB players will recognize the opportunity to make their game a unifying force for the country. That means standing for the national anthem and letting the game be the escapist fare it’s supposed to be instead of a venue for political statements.

The Rockies will take the field Wednesday in Phoenix for a one-game playoff with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The drama that usually accompanies this kind of win-or-go-home scenario will be muted by the recent tragedy in Las Vegas. But maybe it shouldn’t be.

If the horror in Las Vegas teaches us nothing else, it’s that life can be unexpectedly short. Keep love in your heart for all victims, but don’t forget to live and do what you love. For many of us in Colorado, it’s relishing “Rocktober” and hoping to see the Rockies bring a home playoff game to Coors Field.


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Contrary to the Sentinel’s “head-in-the-sand” editorial opinion (“We need baseball now more than ever”), what we really need are sensible gun safety laws – not more baseball.

Conservatives and gun rights enthusiasts tend to worship at the altar of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose rhetorical slight-of-hand and arrogant sophistry in District of Columbia v. Heller turned our Second Amendment jurisprudence on its head.

In Heller, Scalia dismissed the argument “that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment” as “bordering on the frivolous”, but posited a false (“bordering on the frivolous”) equivalency between “arms” (weapons of war, within the rubric of a “well ordered militia”) to “communications” (as protected by the First Amendment) and privacy (as protected by the 4th Amendment).

Thus, Scalia (writing for the 5-4 majority) was spuriously insisting that the “18th century” drafters of the Second Amendment would not have changed one word or comma in it had they presciently foreseen the lethality and proliferation of modern personal weaponry.

The inconsistency of Scalia’s dubiously selective “originalism” is exposed later in Heller, wherein he concedes that the Second Amendment was never intended to permit “unusual or dangerous weapons . . . not in common use at the time”.  Thus, even if the drafters had anticipated multi-shot pistols and double-barreled shotguns, the “self defense” rationale applied to handguns in Heller need not apply to semi- or fully automatic assault weapons. 

Meanwhile, the tragic events in Las Vegas prove once again that Republican recipients of the NRA’s $3.5 million in campaign contributions to current members of Congress – e.g., Scott Tipton ($18,950) and Corey Gardner ($5,950) – have blood on their hands.

Republicans refuse to close the so-called “gun show loophole” (thereby allowing felons, the deranged, and even terrorists to purchase assault weapons with no background check).  Consequently, there are well-advertised gun shows almost every weekend in Las Vegas.

Republicans offer “prayers and sympathy” to victims of gun violence, but voted against renewal of the assault weapons ban in 2004 and 2013, limits on magazine capacity, the sale of armor piercing ammunition, and/or the sale of fully-automatic modification kits.

“If the horror of Las Vegas teaches us nothing else”, it’s that doing nothing about gun violence while letting blood money trump common sense has more serious consequences than the baseball playoffs.

Diversions!  Diversions!  Diversions! is the only thing the Daily Sentinel can come up with, to get our eyes off of what we need to be addressing and why? 

Some of us see no problem with sports. But, it should not be used in place of, or as a substitute to facing up to the problems which must be faced.  That has a name.  It is referred to as “escapism” something quite characteristic of regressive, and not conservative as they like to refer to themselves.

  Or perhaps the editorial staff believes differently?

As to how some use such events as the shooting in Las Vegas, or the events of 9/11 for that matter, and many of the remembrance ceremonies, far too many use them, not to remember the victims but to feel sorry for themselves;  i.e. “I got hurt because I am so sensitive and hurt more than others.  Woe is me.”

We all get “emotional” shocks in our lives.  The difference between individuals is that some can place them in perspective and handle them, while others will withdraw into nothing less than a state of self-pity.

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