So apparently we can all blame Barack Obama
for the crappy non-tribute to Stan the Man. Due to the increased scheduling pressure Obama's appearance
to throw out the first pitch put on everyone, it simply wasn't possible to fit in anything better for Musial.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, folks. Democracy simply does not work.
There's really only one problem with this whole thing, the whole let's-all-blame-the-late-Presidential-addition thing: I'm pretty sure it's bullshit.
Not bullshit in the sense that everyone's lying, but bullshit in the sense that it simply isn't a good enough excuse. Sorry, but no.
As someone who sat through the interminable pre-game ceremonies, I can tell you right now it was not, in fact, tightly scheduled. I am absolutely certain there was at least one span of two minutes, maybe even three, where everyone was just sort of standing around with their thumbs up their collective ass. Trust me on this one; a three minute video montage was not going to knock this train right off the tracks.
I'm not saying you have to hold up the President. I am certain that Mr. Obama has lots of important things to do. (At least, I hope he does. I did vote for him, after all. Twice.) What about after the whole ceremonial pitch thing? Obama comes out, does his thing (Oh, and by the way, Barack, I'm trying to tell myself you're a crafty lefty and were maybe tossing a screwball up there. Because if that's the heat you're bringing, compared to W, well, as a proud card-carrying wacko lefty socialist, I'm a little embarrassed.), heads out, and then the tribute plays. We didn't need to watch the flag getting rolled back up. It was pretty impressive being unfurled; watching the soldiers fight to get the air bubbles out of a giant stars-and-stripes parachute wasn't really all that riveting.
You say you didn't want to keep Mr. Musial on the field any longer than necessary? Hey, I got it, that's totally okay. The Man is 88 years old, after all; to be frank, I was really worried he wouldn't be able to make it this year at all. So play the tribute as he's leaving. It took at least a minute and a half for all that stuff to get off the field. Couple extra moments, and boom! We're in business. And so what if the man of the hour is leaving the field as his tribute is playing? Trust me, we would have all understood.
Or how about this? How about the seventh inning stretch? Do we really, honestly, need to hear yet another fucking rendition of "God Bless America"? For the first 21 years of my life, I believe I heard that particular ditty something like three, maybe four times. Since 9/11, I've heard it at every single sporting event I've attended. Personally, I blame the Yankees, but I also blame them for lots of stuff: global warming, the price of gas, this hangnail on my right big toe, lots of stuff.
I get it, okay; hyper nationalism is alive and well. Fine. But there was a prime opportunity to honor Mr. Musial without screwing up your precious schedule for the pregame stuff. Or, if we just can't possibly do without listening to Sara Evans wail away, how about after it? Sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and then play some sort of video. Oh, you say that would push the start of the inning back? So? Are the players going to rust if they stand out there too long?
Look, I understand this was a really tough thing to do. The President of the United States is a pretty big deal, after all. But I absolutely refuse to believe time couldn't be found somewhere, sometime, during the course of the entire production, to stick in a fitting tribute to a living legend of the game. We're not talking about some huge, half hour production. We're talking about a three to five minute block of time.
Yesterday, I compared the lack of any kind of real tribute to Musial
to the beautiful moment Ted Williams
had at the All-Star Game at Fenway in '99. Maybe something like that wasn't possible. Fine. You get the President to throw out the first pitch, you have to make some allowances. There wasn't time for a huge ceremony. But over the course of the three plus hours the game was on television, you're telling me five minutes couldn't be set aside to at least try and give Stan Musial some time in the limelight?
I was angry before, when I thought the Cardinals, or MLB, or FOX, or whoever, simply didn't think it worthwhile to pay tribute to the greatest Cardinal of them all. Now that I've heard the excuse, I think I may actually be even angrier.