The WSJ’s Daniel Henninger prefers baseball to either football or basketball. Baseball is all about … well, yes, playing baseball, he explains. It is not political or personal or more things than the average fan can process.
Baseball has an informal code of on-field conduct, which has held for a hundred years. The NFL doesn’t seem to have an enforceable code of anything.
Last Sunday, after the New York Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught a touchdown pass, Mr. Beckham got down in the end zone and imitated a dog urinating on a fire hydrant, which the opposing Philadelphia Eagles (who won) took as mockery of their team.
From Babe Ruth 90 years ago to Aaron Judge now, when you hit a home run, you run around the bases and into the dugout. That’s it. No end-zone antics that suggest the sport itself takes a back seat to a personality.
And so last September, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, reduced the parsonage’s moralistic hectoring of professional athletes to its absurd end by deciding that the pregame national anthem was the place to raise the issue of inner-city policing.
Only the innocent could feign shock that eventually Donald Trump, in his capacity as president of the United States, would go after the kneeling players about the same way you’d hear from a guy sitting in the high seats at a New York Jets game, who by the third quarter is on fumes: “Get that son of a bitch off the field!”
Stepping down to the Trumpian moment, LeBron James tweeted, “U bum!”
Thankfully, baseball is still a game where a player’s best performance is on the field, during the game.
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