Monday, January 06, 2014

Ballplayers at war?

Today's Date in History: 1942 - Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller reports to Norfolk, Virginia for duty in the United States Navy. Feller, who led the American League in victories in three previous seasons, will miss this season, as well as the 1943 and 1944 seasons before returning for nine games in 1945. Despite missing the time due to the World War II effort, Feller will lead the league in wins 1946, 1947, and 1951, amassing 266 victories during an 18-year major league career. - Baseball Hall of Fame

Every time I see a story about baseball players going off to war, I marvel at how much we've changed as a country. It used to be a duty to serve your country; now, Americans think they're patriotic if they sing God Bless America at baseball games while mooching their freedom off the service of others. Indeed, with the vitriol spewed against our government and paying taxes, it's almost as if many Americans hate their country. It's ask me not to do anything for my country, let someone else do it.

Imagine today's ballplayer being asked to serve. Sure, it's a nice gesture giving free tickets to military families or donating money to wounded warriors, but what would they do if our country was attacked or if we faced a threat to humanity of the magnitude of Nazism? I find it difficult to believe many of them would enlist to defend the freedom that gives them the opportunity to play a game for a living. It's easy to sign a check when you're making millions of dollars a year. How many athletes enlisted when we were attacked on 9/11? Is Pat Tillman the only one?

We've been at war for generations now; we spend $700 billion annually on war costs, drying up the treasury for programs that would help our own citizens. Families have been ripped apart like the bodies we've sent overseas. Yet you never see a ballplayer standing up and doing the one thing that would support the troops the most: opposing incessant warfare. World War I was supposed to be "the war to end all wars" and World War II was supposed to take down the psychopathic dictator who interrupted that idea. But we've never stopped fighting wars since.