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With Liberty and Justice for All Most

I thought I'd take a swig of Americana last night. I had no apple pie and mom's not so easy to get hold of. That left baseball. So I tuned into the All-Star game. It didn't take me long to get irritated and turn it off. I guess the fact that the broadcast didn't start until 1am local time might have been a factor.

What's with the forced military patriotism at the beginning of the game? We just watched a month of football over here. Each game started with the parading of children and a prevailing theme of ending racism. The US starts its "best of" match with a presentation of soldiers and a fighter-jet fly-over.

Baseball is supposed to be the great American pastime. So why start off a game, a show of sportsmanship, with a glorification to war? A war that, according to the media (left-wing commie pinko as it may be), is not what the American people (or the rest of the world) want.

I'm having a big deja vu as I write this, so forgive me if I've blathered on about this before.

It's sport. It's a game. It's not a place for soldiers. It's a place for players. But then I'm reminded of the Americans in the World Cup. "We bled for our country," said one of the squad. It wasn't a game to them. It was a war.

The axiom goes "it's the little guy who always has something to prove." America's not that little. Yes, it's relatively young, but still.

Maybe it's the little minds that have something to prove. We are Americans. We are proud. We believe in Freedom of Speech (unless you're The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times). We believe in civil liberties (unless you're gay or can't afford medical insurance or have won an indefinite stay in a government-sanctioned torture camp). We believe in the separation of church and state (unless you're an elected official cow towing to religious right lobbyists).

But I digress.

Where were we? Oh yeah, baseball. Um, it's kinda boring. Oh sure, tie game, 3 men on, bottom of the 9th with a full count ... that's crackin' edge-of-your-seat entertainment. But overall, it's much slower than I remember. And without being able to drink a beer, eat a half-dozen hot dogs, and make fun of the bad clothes/hair in the stands, well it just left me a little flat. Don't get me wrong, I'd go to a Cubs game in a minute. But those were always more of a big neighborhood block party than a sanctioned sporting event.

What was with all the booing last night during the introductions? It's a line-up of players chosen by the public, right? Are Pittsburgh fans really that angry/bitter over the total suckation of Pirates that they need to boo players from other cities. Excellent sportsmanship. And booing in public? How courageous. Home of the brave, indeed.

Home of the rude and ill mannered.

I know, I know. Zidane's head butt was a skosh aggressive but he's gonna explain all that later on today.

I didn't recognize but a few of the players. Derek Jeter's still playing? Bless. But my, what athletic prowess. They sure do get paid a lot to stand around and catch the occasional ball, don't they? Much better than having to actually work for two 45-minute stretches without a break. Those stupid footballers ... actually choosing a sport that you break a sweat in.

All that standing around, with the requisite saunter back to the dugout every 3 outs, well it just doesn't make for the fittest looking players, does it? But Steven Colbert sums that up much more eloquently than I could ....

There was something else ... oh yeah. There was a big Republican brouhaha awhile back about the sanctity of the American flag. Now that the government had solved the pesky trifles like Iraq, Afghanistan, illiteracy, oil prices, and affordable medical care, they could move on to the important issues. A Constitutional amendment against defacing the flag. Fair enough. So if that had passed, would it have precluded transforming the last night's giant flag (the one that spread out across the field during the hand-on-heart let-me-grab-a-tissue cavalcade of patriotism) into a map of the United States? A clever party trick to be sure, but not very nice to Hawaii and Alaska.

Lesson learned -- it's okay make a map out of a flag, but not okay for Kid Rock's designer to fashion a matching t-shirt. Thanks, I see the clear delineation.

Finally, the presenters/commentators/bufoons at Channel 5 were cheesier than a case of Kraft Dinner. We'd have seen better banter from a cracked-out Katie Couric and donut-deprived Al Roker doing the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Jonny Gould and his rosy-cheeked American co-schlub (I can't find a credit for him, so I don't know his name) were stilted, scripted and, well, just plain stupid. Then again, according to one website, his hero is Bob Barker. Oh, I see, he's a game show presenter. Well that makes sense, after all baseball's a game. Maybe we can get Alex Trebek to host the World Series (in which the actual "world" does not participate, but we'll save that for the end of summer).

So how was the game? I only made it through half of the first inning.