Pappu: Baseball is staying out of politics this year, like it does every year

From SABR member Sridhar Pappu at the Washington Post on October 26, 2017:

In the waning days of baseball’s regular season, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell made a decision that would set him apart from his sport. It was a choice that so many in the NFL have made, following the lead of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year and in reaction to the remarks of our 45th president about protests during the national anthem. Maxwell, and Maxwell alone among major leaguers, took a knee during the anthem.

No one else in baseball joined him. When Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Chris Archer — the only other ballplayer to suggest doing so — contemplated a protest of his own, teammates successfully dissuaded him. He stayed standing. With that, baseball’s participation in public protest stopped, while in the NFL and NBA, the issues of patriotism and racial injustice have been debated, becoming story lines that will remain as their seasons progress.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred might feel lucky: So far, his postseason has strong ratings boosted by the presence of teams in the American and National League Championship Series from four of the country’s largest television markets. There will be a World Series devoid of drama beyond the field itself. But it will come with a cost.

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Originally published: October 27, 2017. Last Updated: October 27, 2017.