Some day somebody's going to get smart and can this nonsense about playing anthems before games. Certainly, baseball hasn't figured out how to do it right, and Tuesday night Justin Morneau ripped it … well, he ripped it a new one for having a cheesy, taped version of O Canada played at Busch Stadium before the All-Star Game, while Sheryl Crow sang the U.S. anthem.
It was like elevator music.
"I wasn't very impressed with that to tell you the truth," Morneau told reporters afterward. "You figure they could find somebody to come and sing the song. They have a hockey team here, the Canadian teams play here.
"It's something that didn't really go over too well. I think if it happened the other way around, if they were playing in Toronto and they did that, it would have been a lot bigger deal. But nothing you can do about it."
We'll leave aside the nonsense of Fox not showing the playing of O Canada on its telecast of last night's All-Star Game. Fox is the lowest common denominator of our culture and ought not to be taken seriously. They are a loathsome network, worthy only of our pity. The point is this: baseball usually gets the All-Star Game right and this was an embarrassment. There was a Canadian, Jason Bay, voted on as a starter. There were two members of the Toronto Blue Jays starting, meaning a third of the AL starting lineup had ties to Canada.
And not much can be said for the fine, corn-fed Midwesterners at Busch Stadium who booed President Barack Obama. It was, frankly, shocking. I'd say 40 per-cent of the crowd booed and for a time it seemed they would carry the day until the majority drowned them out. More telling was the applause and cheers for George W. Bush's appearance on a public service announcement made by all five living presidents.
It's simple, really: national anthems have no place being played before sports events. This isn't the 40s. It is an anachronistic sop to feeble-minded nationalism.