Washington Post Demands That Baseball Ban Teams From Holding Spring Training in Florida Because — You Know Why

Washington Post Demands That Baseball Ban Teams From Holding Spring Training in Florida Because — You Know Why


In arguing in the Washington Post that Major League Baseball (MLB) should bar teams from holding spring training in Florida, Kevin B. Blackistone, a sports commentator for ESPN as well as the Post, invokes the bad old days of 1947, when several major league teams moved their spring training camps out of Florida because that state still had segregation laws in place. Ron DeSantis’ Florida, Blackistone claims, is just as bad as the Florida where black Americans were barred from the better hotels and restaurants, and vulnerable to harassment and even lynching. Is Blackistone hysterical? Of course, he is, and worse.

Spring training in Florida dates back to 1888 when the Washington Nationals (not the new team that plays for bureaucratic wokesters in the hunkered-down fortress that is officially known as the nation’s capital, but a long-defunct outfit from simpler times) became the first major league baseball team to head to Florida to get in shape for the coming season. It didn’t do much good: the Nats won 48 games and lost 86 that year and after the following season were out of the league altogether. But the Sunshine State’s gorgeous spring climate kept beckoning. In 1913, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland (shield your kids’ eyes) Indians began training in Florida, and the year after that, the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Athletics all set up spring training facilities in the state. The Grapefruit League was born.

Quick now: who was the governor of Florida in 1888? What were his politics? How about 1913? Governors of Florida have come and gone, and baseball players have been training in Florida for over 100 years now, likely without paying much (or any) attention to the politics of the man (sorry, wokesters, there has never been a female governor of Florida, much less a cross-dressing trans governor of Florida or a black lesbian governor of Florida, but there’s always hope) in the governor’s mansion.

To be sure, Blackistone is right that some teams temporarily stopped training in Florida in the 1940s because of segregation. This was done in view of the fact that the Brooklyn Dodgers had signed Jackie Robinson and several other teams would soon sign black players, and the teams that left Florida didn’t want to subject their black players to the humiliation of not being able to sleep or eat with the rest of the team.

While he presents his luckless readers with a long explanation of DeSantis’ alleged evils, Blackistone does not offer a single example of how the evil reign of this un-woke governor would disadvantage black players, or any other players, training in Florida. He does not, of course, because he cannot. He wants baseball teams to do what some of them did in 1947, but in 1947 they were responding to actual conditions of injustice that some of the players would themselves experience. There is simply nothing analogous to that in 2023, either in Ron DeSantis’ Florida or anywhere else in the country.

Blackistone, however, decries DeSantis’ “hostile approach to inclusiveness” and claims that he “commands an attack on diversity.” This is because DeSantis “called a new Advanced Placement high school course in African American studies ‘indoctrination,’ dismissed its educational value and threatened to replace the nonprofit College Board that approved it.” Blackistone says nothing about how that course is a long exercise in race-hate propaganda that has virtually no basis in actual historical or present-day realities. Nor does he list any major league baseball players who would have been taking that course, so why should baseball mount a protest against it?

Blackistone wants MLB’s ill-considered 2021 decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest against laws that made it harder to rig elections to become standard practice: baseball will evidently be played or withheld depending on how woke, or un-woke, the local politicians are.

Imagine the chaos that would ensue. If the Arizona gubernatorial race had not been successfully pilfered from Kari Lake, MLB would have to scuttle the Cactus League as well and would have to hold spring training in bluer climates such as Michigan or New York. Entire franchises would have to relocate out of red states and move again every few years if new patriotic governors were elected. Ridiculous? Of course. Welcome to woke world.

If MLB were smart, and it isn’t, it would determinedly return to the days when no one knew the politics of their favorite stars and no one cared. Instead, its top dogs are likely to pay far more attention to Blackistone’s absurd attempt at shaming than they should. If you’re in Florida, catch a spring training game or two while you still can.


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