added 2/14/2012 by Bob Hulsey
There's really little to discuss before pitchers and catchers reports to Kissimmee next week. I had no idea what I would write about before reader James Crabtree sent an e-mail over a topic that upset him.
The topic was a small mention in Alyson Footer's recent MLB blog about the "Flashback Friday" campaign this season to deck current players in the uniforms of yesteryear. Her blog said this:
* Flashback Fridays: the Astros will wear retro jerseys from past decades every Friday home game this year, starting with the Colt .45s (minus the pistol, which was deemed inappropriate to include on a uniform).
Mr. Crabtree shot off (oops, was that inappropriate?) a reply which said in part:
Its very disturbing to me that your organization has let misplaced political correctness destroy one of the greatest uniforms in baseball history.
Well, the uniform was only around for three years so I don't know about the "greatest" part, but it is historically accurate that a drawing of a pistol with a wisp of smoke adorned the jerseys of the franchise from 1962 to 1964. I wonder if the Astros plan to replace it with a horse, the word "HOUSTON" or just a big blank void? Regardless, it will look inappropriate to a number of fans like Mr. Crabtree who still have some nostalgia about the period.
There is a certain imbalance to offending the sensibilities of the politically correct crowd. This month is Black History Month and you can't watch cable without being peppered with scenes of lynchings, burning crosses and hooded Klansmen. Hollywood even embellishes scenes of racial violence which didn't actually happen in otherwise historical films like "Glory Road" and "The Express".
Why? Because we must "never forget", they tell us. Fine. So why, then, is it necessary to alter history by removing guns from such innocuous items like baseball jerseys? I accept the portrayal of violence that's historically accurate even if uncomfortable to view. What I don't accept is lying about it, which omitting the truth is.
The Astros have slowly succumbed to political correctness in a number of ways over the past few years, including novelty caps of pink, green and other colors which not only look flat out ugly with the rest of the Astros wardrobe but also represent the cheesy cowardice of political nannyism. I don't need a green cap to remind me to recycle.
I now live in an apartment that spouts the energy efficiency groupthink so the bathroom has nine CFL light bulbs which can only be turned off or on in unison with one light switch. MY idea of energy conservation was to unscrew seven of them. I don't need nine light bulbs just to do my business in there.
But I'm wandering far afield from the topic at hand. Liberal bullies are trying to ban guns and think that somehow banning images of guns will help them win the day. Years ago, the Washington Bullets of the NBA (which started out as the alliterative Baltimore Bullets) decided to change their names to the Washington Wizards because they thought naming a team the "Bullets" celebrated gun violence - as if somehow all the street gangs, murderers and thieves wouldn't have had the inspiration to use handguns unless some basketball team called the Bullets gave them that idea.
In the case of the Colt .45s, the team was named after "the gun that won the West" and since we've been gang-raped by Bud Selig and Nolan Ryan into joining the American League West, by golly, that gun might have come in handy as a means of self-defense last year.
That's the part about banning guns that always gets missed. Guns can be a deterrent to violence just as easily as they can be a method of violence. It's an inanimate object. What makes it violent is the intent of the person who uses the gun, not the gun itself. Liberal heads scream invectives every time you mention this rather simple fact.
But if we want to talk about banning things that are inappropriate, let's ban the "designated hitter". The DH has one job - to swing a bat. Unlike the other eight members of the lineup, he doesn't redeem himself as a person by performing other feats such as catching or throwing.
Nope. All he does is hit. Even worse, as a "designated hitter", the name implies that he swings a bat regularly. He's a serial swinger.
Surely there are more victims of domestic violence in this country than there are victims of gun violence. Why is there no sensitivity to those victims? Why are they subjected to beefy men waving bats in their hands which might conjure up painful memories of old encounters? Shouldn't that be stopped?
Why do fans of the sport constantly have to listen to the words "beat" and "beaten" to describe the outcomes? Why isn't that inappropriate?
I realize the Astros are doing their part to reduce domestic violence this year by producing a lineup that couldn't hit crap is you bagged it and dangled it in front of them with a string but they are trying to rid themselves of such pacifism. They want to be like every other team in baseball.
So if we are going to ban guns on uniforms as a means of showing solidarity with gun-grabbers, why not also insist on banning the designated hitter in a show of solidarity to end domestic violence? Maybe the Astros could augment this with a stupid novelty cap or paint their bats lavender or something.
If it will stop even one baseball fan from smacking their wife or child, isn't banning the designated hitter worth it?
UPDATE: Mike Acosta of the Astros has responded to Mr. Crabtree and I am posting the reply in full. Mr. Acosta is the Authentication Manager and preserver of artifacts so he is well aware of the need preserve the history of the franchise:
Thank you for your e-mail. We have every intention to honor our past in the best way possible. This includes the complete Colt .45s uniform that was used from 1962-1964. However, during our discussion with Major League Baseball, it was expressed to us that we could wear the uniform as long as the pistol was removed. We realize this changes the original design, but we still want to honor the Colt .45s. We are also under an obligation to follow Major League Baseball's requests.
Personally I can see how in this time period any sports league (MLB, NFL, NBA, etc.) would not want a team logo associated with a weapon on their uniform that is broadcast to many people. In recent years the Washington Bullets were renamed the Wizards because of this very subject. The symbol of a warm gun with the "C" coming out as smoke is an image many of us have for the Colt .45s. The Wild West theme this franchise had in the early 1960s is symbolic of how times have changed in our society.
We have not changed any Colt .45s logos that are used in the ballpark, printed materials or any historical displays. This applies only to April 10th and 20th when we will wear this uniform. We hope to see you out this year as we celebrate our team's heritage and history.
Part of Mr. Crabtree's response:
It was bad seeing the Astros put their worst team in history on the field all last season. Then the announced move to the AL after 50 years was horrible. Mr. Crane's flirting with changing the name was even worse. Now the team can't even proudly wear their first jersey because somehow the image of a pistol is offensive.
Maybe the Astros can make sure that no military color guards carry rifles on to the field this year, too? We certainly can't have any offended by the sight of people on the field carrying rifles. We are now the Houston Wizards.