“To Honor America, We Ask That You All Please Rise And Join In The Singing Of ‘You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun.’ ”

I've been taking advantage of the McCourts' problems to score cheap Dodger tickets, which feels a little like looking for bargains at the tension-filled yard sale of a divorcing couple, but then I remember that they hadn't lived in the neighborhood very long and nobody liked them anyway. But every time I go Dodger Stadium, I forget that we have to stand up and sing "God Bless America" in the 7th.

On the one hand I think this is great, because "What This Country Needs Is More Rote Singing Of Irving Berlin Songs" was the title of an essay I wrote back in high school to get into Boys' State. (Except I suggested "Puttin' On The Ritz" - dumb choice, in retrospect. But it'd be fun to try at the ballpark at least once.)  And it can be a long time between the first and seventh innings, especially during Red Sox games, so it's good to be reminded of what country the game is taking place in.*

But it does feel the slightest bit jingoistic.  There's already nothing more American than a ballgame; I mean, if a bunch of Spanish-speaking guys with falsified paperwork working up a sweat, while the paying customers talk on their cellphones and eat 4,000-calorie meals, isn't a snapshot of what this country is all about, I'd like to know what is! (Not finding Asia on a map, maybe.)  And what if God isn't even listening?  If the game's a blowout, He might have left before the bottom of the seventh (that's actually what God does all the time out here in LA, but then again we all know how much He likes Vin Scully). And besides, if I wanted to participate in a mindless patriotic ritual where my voice isn't really heard, I would vote.  

So I guess I'm saying this ... Let's leave the empty flagwaving on television news where it belongs, and let's enjoy Major League Baseball for what it truly is: the best erectile dysfunction marketing platform ever invented on God's green earth.  

*SPOILER ALERT: America

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