Memo to the Atlanta Braves: Do whatever you wish regarding your flirtation with the 19th century, but leave Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson out of this.
That’s the answer.
The question is coming, but here’s the problem: Whenever Braves fans visit the $722 million crazy house of the franchise (which is spending its fourth season operating inside of its financial empire called The Battery, with Truist Park in the middle), those Braves fans are pretending they’re auditioning for an old John Wayne western or something.
They’re still chopping and chanting.
Did I say Truist Park is a crazy house?
Yes, it is, and it’ll remain an empty house on Tuesday, July 13.
It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Instead, courtesy of Georgia’s governor signing an anti-minority voting law that was passed earlier this month, Major League Baseball yanked the All-Star Game from the Braves’ place, along with the estimated $100 million in revenue the Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau said the game would have generated for local businesses during that summer weekend.
Braves officials ripped baseball for the decision. Among other nonsensical things, they responded with the following in their official statement: “Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.”
Ohhhhhh Oh Ohhhhhh
The Braves don’t get it. Actually, they do.
They’re just covering their ears.
Even though the Cleveland “Indians” announced last year they would following the lead of the team formerly known as the Washington “Redskins” by changing their name and their emphasis on Native American gimmickry, the Braves told inquiring minds in the media (including me) they would remain “Braves,” but they said they were “reviewing” their use of the chopping and the chanting.
So much “reviewing.”
The Braves spokesperson assigned to discussing the chopping and the chanting with the media hasn’t returned messages (including me) in months.
Actually, the Braves did respond.
The chopping and the chanting returned this weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies during the home opener for the Braves.
Not only that, but when the Braves tried and failed Sunday night to rally against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 7-6 loss, ESPN showed the nation an Atlanta ballpark dominated by choppers and chanters.
Ohhhhhh Oh Ohhhhhh
Crazy house, indeed.
Those who comprise these defiant Atlanta sports fans and Braves officials are embarrassing themselves, MLB, the state of Georgia and the folks who spent decades helping their region earn labels such as Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, Home of the New South and The City Too Busy To Hate.
It’s now The City That Couldn’t Care Less About How Backwards Many Of Its Baseball Fans Are Looking During Braves Home Games.
So, if I’m the Czar of the World, or at least of Major League Baseball, I’m telling Braves officials to stop it.
I’m not talking about telling Braves officials to stop yawning over another season of fans offending Native Americans by chopping and chanting. I’m not even talking about telling Braves officials to stop encouraging the whole tomahawk thing, with that drum beat moving in rhythm to the image of a huge tomahawk on the video board.
As Czar of the World, I’m telling Braves officials to stop dishonoring Aaron and Robinson, both Baseball Hall of Famers, both Civil Rights icons and both so outspoken during their time on earth that they just might reach down From Above to tell Braves officials — you know, loudly — what I’m about to write.
Just stop it.
More specifically, as Czar of the World, I’m telling Braves officials to stop doing what they had their team do this weekend, which is they had their team wear throwback uniforms from the 1974 season.
Braves officials said they were honoring Aaron who died in late January and who survived everything from death threats to racist messages to rip his 715th career that April 8th in Atlanta. Suddenly, back then, Hank became better than Babe Ruth, the Great White Hope to those who made the previous two seasons miserable for the former Braves player, executive and champion of social justice.
You see where I’m going?
Given this chopping and chanting, with no end in sight after 30 years of it, Aaron wouldn’t have enjoyed such an “honor” regarding those uniforms.
As Czar of the World, I’m also telling Braves officials to cancel their part of Jackie Robinson Day, which happens this Thursday for every MLB franchise. All 30 MLB teams will honor Jackie by wearing his No. 42, which shouldn’t happen for anybody involved with the Braves organization during their home game against the Miami Marlins.
Jackie was Hank’s hero.
Hank was Jackie, and Jackie was Hank.
They both would have asked this question of Braves officials, hiding in the shadows, where they suddenly went from silent over that chopping and chanting to supporting it without explanation.