Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hoser hypocrisy: We stand on guard for being followers

A true Canadian would laugh this off since our sense of humour is what we're known for, eh? That said, good on Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau for sounding off about Major League Baseball not having a vocalist for O Canada at the all-star game.
"I wasn't very impressed with that to tell you the truth ... 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."
The rub is, though, getting indignant over such a trifle does not make you patriotic. Shame on media outlets who pander to the Great Canadian Inferiority Complex by running a poll asking the leading question that begins, "Do you think Major League Baseball disrespected Canadians and the Toronto Blue Jays..."

The reality is there was no outcry in Canada when it happened last year at Yankee Stadium. Secondly, it's nice to be acknowledged, however a country finds validation within, not from Bud Selig and FOX Sports' Americana porn on an idyllic summer night in St. Louis.

Deep-down, a true patriot would not care too much. It stung at first during last year's all-star game when on top of the anthem omission, FOX's Joe Buck mispronounced Roy Halladay's name and Tim McCarver incorrectly identified the Blue Jays' stadium as "the Rogers Dome," but it just doesn't matter. In hindsight, maybe that wasn't a snub, maybe it was just honest mistakes by one man who would rather be mediocre at seven media gigs rather than master one and a colour analyst who is well past his best-before date.

Making this out as even a mild international incident is facts-plus-fiction. The fiction is that MLB has to give Canada any acknowledgement simply because "for now, at least" (fist bump: Bob Costas) one of its 30 teams is based in this country.

Granted, it is a smaller fiction next to the way FOX presents baseball as something uniquely American. The sport would be screwed if it wasn't for players from the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. They should play the national anthems of the Dominican Republic, Japan and Venezuela.

Using a taped version of O Canada has been standard at the all-star game for some time. The pregame ritual of trotting out sundry baseball legends, topped off last night by President Obama throwing out the first ball and squeezing in a ton of commercials is very tightly scripted. Something has to give. That's the reality. A celebrity speaks up, though, and suddenly everyone's a patriot.

(There is a talking point that should no national anthems played at all, but please. It's a logical, rational thought, especially since the practice is largely limited to North America. However, you live in this world — do you really see a day when that won't happen? Part of loving sports is resisting logic and rationalism.)

B.C. slugger not impressed with instrumental O Canada (; via Circling The Bases)


Greg said...

I think the game last night was alright; boring for the most part, but it had its moments of fun (please stand up, Carl Crawford and Curtis Granderson).

I wasn't offended at all by the Canadian national anthem being pre-taped. I've learned to expect insensitivity from the MLB when it comes to stuff like that. It's no big deal in the long-run. I think it would have been better if there had been the national anthems of Japan, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic performed too.

I'll say this: seeing former Presidents like Bush I and Bush II talk about courage and hard work and dedication to communities during the MLB Go Beyond pre-game segment was the single greatest act of irony in recent baseball history. There was a mix of expletives and angry, sarcastic laughter when they come on.

sager said...

Jason Bay had a good suggestion: They could have had him and Justin Morneau sing. (Alas, he referred to it as, "Oh, Canada," but the point is nevertheless valid.)

sager said...

The only sacrifice Bush II understand is when the batter hits a fly ball with less than two out, allowing a runner to tag up and score from third.

Ron Rollins said...

Wow, you guys say don't make it personal when the Canadian anthem isn't played, then turn it into a political debate about former presidents from a country other than your own.

Seems to me, the priorities are a little backwards there. Just my opinion, but shouldn't you be more concerned about your own country than another one?

sager said...


I don't follow. I wrote the post, another person threw in his two cents independent of what I had written, so you can't lump the two together. Two people expressed diverging opinions, which falls under the heading democracy, which the U.S. had a major role in inventing.

I don't mean to talk down to you but Americans need to do a better job understanding how one-way their communication with the world is. To say Canadians can't have an opinion on U.S. politics is myopic. The U.S. is a dominant country in the world and its actions affect everyone around the globe, thus we have a right to weigh in on American politics and express a wish for the direction that great nation might take. One would think an American who lives outside the United States would understand that perspective.

The initial point was that Canadians should let this stuff go. It's petty for us to make a mountain out of MLB lacking a vocalist for O Canada. Like you say, people should worry about what matters, and in terms of relative seriousness, it is about a thousand tape-measure home runs away from the past eight years of Bush and Cheney's policies.

sager said...

Joe Posnanski had some good thoughts on President Obama throwing out the first ball and how it "divides the room."

It's good stuff. Seriously, though, booing the president ain't right. Just stand silently. But we'll never settle that debate.

Jordie Dwyer said...

Sager, you hit the nail on the head....
Everyone calls themselves patriotic and stand for the anthem (be it at a jr A, NHL or little league game) up here and then blindly stand there either not listening to the song or on their cell phone or chatting with someone next to them or doing some other thing until its over and they can get to watching what they came for....
Yet, when it gets messed up and there isn't one or it gets butchered, they get their shorts in a knot and wrap themselves in the flag...proclaiming to be the absolute Canadian and how dare they snub us.
Eliminate the time wasting exercise that it is for all but the big events (say play it once at the beginning of a Canadian championship final - the RBC is one example - or at something like the World juniors)...
Not wanting to have it doesn't make me unpatriotic, it simply makes sense.....because no one is listening anyway...
And while we're on the topic of eliminating songs...can someone cut the cord on Bryan Hall's rendition of the Eskimo fight song already??? It's hurting my ears....

Greg said...

Well said, Neate.

Ron, your country's actions have a direct effect on Canada. When you sneeze, we catch a cold.

We're concerned about things that happen in our country, no need for worry there. That being said, you put someone like George W. Bush out there in a pre-game ceremony, espousing virtues about "dedication to community," you're going to get howls of ironic laughter from all corners, including Canada.

Besides, Canadians are endlessly fascinated and interested in America. You should come up here sometime, see how much that attitude plays out.

Dave said...

Only hockey playing Canadians rudely rock back and forth, spit, skate around, etc. during the anthems. Right from pros to Junior C. I'm agreed, let's drop the anthems for every single game, but when we do play them, can someone tell these people to stand still, for chrissake? Can't you imagine your mom coming down from the stands and swatting your cheek for such behavior? The anthems are meant to be respectful, and it's like religion, it doesn't have to mean anything to you, but you ought to at least stand still and respect others for whom it does.

Anonymous said...

I didn't watch the telecast, but how do you mispronounce Halladay's name? No really, did he say holiday?