Summer Distractions: An Open Letter to Bill McClellan

by John Chasnoff

I totally get where you’re coming from with your latest column, hoping that a good baseball season could help unite a divided St. Louis. And I hate to be a wet blanket about the Cardinals, especiallKeep Calmy since my lawsuit against the police for the World Series ticket scandal has certainly relied on the area’s baseball fever for publicity.

BUT…

I am wary of St. Louis returning to a feel-good summer pastime when it has yet to do much of the real work on racism, policing, and the courts which would give us better reasons to actually feel good. Who can afford to go to a baseball game, after all, when all their money from subpar wages is getting sucked up by municipal court fines?

Listening to sports on the old transistor could have been a fatal distraction to your patrolling marine in Vietnam, but it has the virtue of being a charming story. Similarly, using sports as a charming distraction from solving our serious problems could end up being fatal for the region.

The protests were designed to shake people out of their comfort zones—to force change by bringing the issues to people who can too easily afford to ignore them. Is the nostalgia to return to baseball-induced superficial regional unity really just a desire for the privileged to return to the status quo? Me, I long for the day when baseball is only one part of the communal joy all of us participate in by living in a more just society.

I know, I should lighten up. Maybe if we all enjoy a brew and a Cardinal’s game together we’ll get to talking about the other things that should unite us as human beings.

BUT…

It hasn’t happened yet.

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