No sport in America is more patriotic than Major League Baseball, so it was odd that the powers that be got in the way of a tribute to our fallen military heroes.
The Washington Nationals, who play their home games just down the street from the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, wanted to wear special hats with military insignias during their game with the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. This was the Nats' first home game since 30 soldiers riding in a helicopter were killed in Afghanistan on August 6th. But Commissioner Bud Selig's top executives stopped it from happening.
Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog went to the team for an explanation. Here's what he got:
"As a team that is dedicated to supporting our military service men and women, we requested permission from Major League Baseball to wear hats representing all of the military branches during batting practice and throughout the game. We realize this was an extraordinary request and were pleased when permission was granted to use the hats during batting practice. The players were honored to wear the hats and in doing so were able to demonstrate the team’s solidarity with our military community."
Steinberg, one of the nation's top sports bloggers, then spoke with MLB spokesman Pat Courtney, who explained the decision.
"We reserve hats for national tributes, where every club is wearing them on the same day," Courtney said. "But we're happy to work with clubs on alternatives."
But don't the Padres sometimes wear camouflage on Sundays to honor military heroes? Why can't the Nats hats be another on the list of "alternatives"?
F.P. Santangelo, Nats broadcaster, talked about the move on the team's TV broadcast: "It's unfortunate that they couldn’t wear the hats during the game. They tried, and Major League Baseball said no, but they wore 'em during batting practice today. We'll be wearing them throughout the broadcast tonight; you and I have our armed forces hats on. And it's just a special tribute to these guys, and we'd just like to thank them for all they do."
For special events such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, baseball has all of its teams wear special stars-and-stripes logo caps.
Nationals.com reports the team wore its patriotic navy blue uniforms, which are usually reserved for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Miller High Life deliveryman Windell Middlebrooks was on hand as part of a program allowing veterans to deliver the lineup card and throw out the first pitch. The promotion is called "Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life"
But surely some fans want to give MLB a piece of their minds.