Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seventh Inning Stretch

This past World Series battle between the Yankees and Phillies was an entertaining match up as far as baseball goes. Because I just don't have the patience to sit and watch a complete baseball game I'm a couple years removed from the pomp that accompanies a Major League baseball game.

What is the deal with the 7th inning stretch? I remember going to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore back in the '80's and being serenaded to "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Denver as the game moved into the bottom of the seventh inning. It was fun and light-hearted.

What a different scenario now. As the Yankees left the field at the end of the top of the seventh inning the PA announcer asked all"to rise, take off your hat, and join in the singing of God Bless America." It was presented as a spiritual event. I guess there is nothing inherently wrong, but it reminds me of an experience I had while visiting the Soviet Union during the summer of '81. One evening our group attended a performance by the Moscow Circus and smack in the middle of the program was a PA announcement followed by a group of soldiers goose-stepping into the circus ring carrying various flags and banners to commemorate the heroes of the Great War ( which had been fought 35 years before). We as a group of Americans were struck with how out of place and strange the demonstration seemed. I got the same feeling last week as I watched this quasi-religious ceremony between innings. God Bless America was a song the Flyers used to dust off before must win playoff games as a good luck charm. If they really needed the game they would bring Kate Smith in to sing the song live. We've gone from that to an almost Leni Riefenstahl moment.

Very strange.

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