October 26, 2006, - 3:55 pm

World Series Controversy: “Smudge” vs. National Anthem & “World” Series

By Debbie Schlussel
With the World Series going on, one wonders where the sense of patriotism is.
The huge controversy at hand seems to be “SmudgeGate.” Everyone in St. Louis and Detroit–the teams competing for the Series title–is talking about Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers and a suspicious looking brown smudge on his hand in Game 2. That’s the game that Detroit won to tie the series in Detroit (St. Louis now leads by 1, 2-1 in the Series). The smudge looks a lot like Rogers was using pine tar or some illegal (in baseball) substance like it. Rogers denies it, claiming it was dirt.
Then there’s Bob Seger. The Detroit-based singer refused to sing the American National Anthem at the World Series in Detroit because he thinks it too “vocally challenging” for him. Instead, he chose to sing “America the Beautiful.” Nobody seems to care about that. Why not?

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The Smudge, the World Series & Bob Seger’s New National Anthem

Sure, cheating is unacceptable in an ostensibly virtuous sport (which we all know baseball is, right? steroids, anyone). But what about patriotism? Is that unacceptable, too, because Bob Seger finds the notes too high in his ’60s? Maybe our national anthem should be changed to “Hollywood Nights.”
And finally, there’s the World Series moniker itself. Foreign sports press–and American lefties who dominate our sports press–are up in arms, this year more than ever. They’re constantly carping that it’s not the “World” Series of baseball because it only includes Major League Baseball teams from North America (mostly the U.S.). Sorry, whiners, but there’s nothing wrong with believing America is the center of the world. It is. We’re really not too concerned about the teams from Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. When they refuse to play in the same division as Israel in the World Cup of Soccer and other competitions, and none of the whiners about the World Series say a thing, it tells us a lot about them.
Besides, Major League Baseball created the Series, and we believe in free speech here in America. They can call it the Galactic Series if they like, and I won’t object. There’s nothing wrong with being proud to be American, and proud that we think of ourselves as dominating the world.
If only we would act like it in other ways besides sports, instead of constantly kowtowing to our world critics. At least MLB won’t give in and change the name. And for that, I respect them. Though we deplore cheating, not giving into our international critics and refusing to leave out our traditional national anthem are far more important than the “smudge” in the larger scheme of things.

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16 Responses

Sounds like ’68. Tigers, Cardinals, Jose Feliciano butchered the National Anthem. The country was divided….so who’s going to win the WORLD SERIES? The name should NEVER change

Bill on October 26, 2006 at 4:23 pm

Let all the other countries keep their silly World Cup soccer thingy and we’ll keep our World Series.
If Seger doesn’t want to sing the National Anthem they should have found someone else. But, puhleeeeeze, not Roseanne Barr!

Jeff_W on October 26, 2006 at 4:38 pm

The World Baseball Classic, which takes place prior to the beginning of the MLB season, already has various countries pitted against each other. So I’m not aware of any sportscasters or other personalities who have complained about non-MLB teams not being included in the World Series.

Hourman on October 26, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Bob Seger is a relative of mine and I’m ashamed of his inexcusable remarks.
As for the “World Series,” and the foreign detractors, let me ask them a question: What would they do without America?
America saved the World from the Nazis, the Japanese, the Fascists and the Soviets, to mention a few.
America, whether they acknowledge it or not, will be the savior of the Europeans again in the future.
In America we have the right to call ourselves the center of World because the World rotates around America’s gravity.
Go Tigers!

Independent Conservative on October 26, 2006 at 5:41 pm

I can’t sing the national anthem either. I prefer America the Beautiful. It always makes emotional.
“AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL,” WHILE A BEAUTIFUL SONG, IS A WIMPY SONG. IT TALKS ABOUT AMERICA’S BEAUTY. BUT THAT’S IT. THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS A TOUGH, PROUD SONG. IT SPEAKS OF “ROCKETS’ RED GLARE” AND “BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR.” IT SPEAKS OF FREEDOM AND BRAVERY. THAT’S THE MESSAGE WE NEED TO SEND THE WORLD. THEY LAUGH AT WUSSY “AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN,” WHICH IS FOR WUSSES. AMERICA MAY STILL HAVE AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN AND PURPLE MOUNTAINS MAJESTY UNDER AN ISLAMIST OR TOTALITARIAN REGIME, BUT WE WON’T BE FREE. THAT’S WHY THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS WHAT IT IS, NOT A RENDITION OF COLORFUL PICTURES–BUT A RECOUNTING OF WHAT IT IS WE ARE ABOUT AS A FREE NATION.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

LoveAManInAUniform on October 26, 2006 at 5:45 pm

bob seger should get the silver bullet band back for a reunion tour and charge $150.00 a ticket per seat because this generation dont know who he is they should get denny mclain to play the organ

PNAMARBLE on October 26, 2006 at 6:31 pm

I happen to agree with Seger in regards to the “Star Spangled Banner”. It was originally written as a poem and even though it was made into a song soon after, it was not made our national anthem until 1931. And it is a hard song to sing. How many times has a very talented singer not been able to sing the song well?
In my opinion, Jimmy Hendricks did the best rendition of the song. I do think “America The Beautiful” should be our national anthem. During the US Open Tennis tournament this year, I did notice that they sang “America The Beautiful” instead of the “Star Spangled Banner”.
In regards to “World” Series being used, Major League baseball players do come from all over the world, like Latin American and Japan. It should be noted that most National Hockey League teams are in US cities but most the of the players are from Canada and Russia. Anyone in the world with the talent, and clean criminal record (I hope), has a chance to play professional sports in the US.

Travis on October 26, 2006 at 6:47 pm

I agree with Pnamarble and Bob Seger – the star spangled banner is too hard for most people to sing and they end up butchering it!!! And YES, Hendrix did the best rendition.
America the Beautiful can make you cry.
But honestly, why do we have to sing before the game anyway?? What ever happened to take me out to the ballgame during the 7th inning stretch?

littlequeenie on October 26, 2006 at 7:46 pm

I believe that Bob Seger singing America the Beautiful was wonderful. This song was written at the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. If you have never been to the top of Pikes Peak you should drive the 19 miles of switchback dirt road to get to the top so that you can see why this song was written there. Either song is appropriate. One is about it’s beauty, one about its freedom. Both of these make America what it is. If you live in America you live in a beautiful country, which remains that way because of the men and women who risk their lives every day to keep it that way. You should be incredibly grateful that you can sit and watch a baseball game. Consider the men and women who did not get to watch this game because they were protecting America the Beautiful, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Try traveling more before making derogatory comments about one of the best singers and bands in America. As far as I am concerned I and the city that I live in think that Bob should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame during the very first Induction Ceremony which by the way SHOULD BE HELD IN CLEVELAND OHIO AND NOT IN NEW YORK!!!!

CCrol on October 26, 2006 at 8:08 pm

Well, CCrol, I just got back from travelling to Southern California and I’ve travelled extensively. I’ve been to Pike’s Peak, but I rode one of their trains. I fail to see what that has to do with singing quality of any singer or band.
Bob Seger is washed up, has been for a long time, especially when he went ballad crazy towards the end of his popularity.
I think both songs are great, but it’s the National Anthem and it’s one of the (supposedly) great American sporting events. We have the official flag, the national symbol of the eagle, and the National Anthem, there are no substitutes just because you feel like it. If he didn’t want to sing the Anthem, find someone who can and will. Nobody would miss Seger. And, how good of a singer can Seger be if he can’t sing the song?
Debbie is right, there are way too many lefties in sports press, too. That’s why I stopped watching much of ESPN besides watching games. Nothing ruins enjoyment of watching sports than lefty sports reporters who want to take the pure competition and sport and promote liberal policies.

The_Man on October 26, 2006 at 9:34 pm

I guess they couldn’t get Aretha. She sure can hit the high notes.
Coulda been worse. Could have been Eminen

Blackhat35 on October 26, 2006 at 10:00 pm

It has been eleven years since Bob Seger has sang in public and people are complaining about his choice of songs? He made the right choice.

Bcrd500 on October 27, 2006 at 3:06 am

Actually, I always found the flack about “The World Series” name funny due to the real reason it got the name. It was a very very early equivalent of something that unfortunately goes on all too much nowadays, that of things like stadiums being named for corporate sponsors, except in this case fortunately it didn’t change every few years.
Barney Dreyfus, the GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903 (and yes, he is a very distant cousin of both Richard the actor and 19th century French anti-Semitism victim Alfred, I don’t think he’s related to actress Julia Louis though), invented the whole concept. At the time, the series didn’t have a name, it was just the AL-NL championship I presume.
Some years later, the now long-defunct New York World newspaper agreed to a major sponsorship of it, if the series would be lent its name. Thus “the World” Series. The name simply stuck long after because it is catchy and there’s no reason whatsoever to remove (it is a free country after all).
The annual reference publication “the World Almanac” (which I collect) has similar naming origins.

hairymon on October 27, 2006 at 8:55 am

I missed the Bob Seeger rendition…but I just don’t see anything..wimpy or a-patriotic(and I’m not a Seeger fan);I am a serious boxing fan-and anyone who saw Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran II should remember Ray Charles’ rendition of ‘America The Beautiful’,which I would pick as the best performance of any patriotic song from any country..in history.

jaywilton on October 27, 2006 at 9:24 am

My family has picked up on the seemingly down-playing of the national anthem. Are they trying to down-play it as a way to appeal to the growing, illegal alien, I mean, Latino “community” in the USA? Or because more and more ballplayers are not Americans? Hmmm…

Nessus on October 27, 2006 at 10:35 am

Who’s up in arms? Who do they write for? What are they saying? Got any facts or is this hearsay? I follow baseball closely and I haven’t read or heard any sports broadcaster or journalist decrying the use of the World Series moniker. Irrelevant info in an otherwise great blog.
Where is it written that the National Anthem must be played before each sporting event? Seger made the right choice–America the Beautiful says it all. Add Marvin Gaye’s rendition to the all time best list with Hendrix and Feliciano.

BigAl on October 31, 2006 at 2:08 pm

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