By John J. Duncan Jr.
One day at Litton’s Restaurant, Mike Edwards, a former UT basketball star, told me that when his grandchildren teased him about his white hair he told them it was not white, it was “Arctic Blonde.”
Well, I suppose my hair is arctic blonde too. This caused Pete Rose, the famous baseball star, to tease me about it at an Athens Chamber of Commerce dinner several years ago.
Pete was the main speaker, and I sat next to him at the head of the table. I told him I had been batboy for the Knoxville Smokies when he played for the Macon Peaches. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time.
When he got up to speak the first thing he said was nice. He said “Congressman Duncan, I wish you were a senator.” However, he then added: “But you were nine years old when I played at Macon. What the hell happened to you? I thought I was sitting next to Col. Sanders up here.” The audience of 500 or so roared with laughter.
I grew up in minor league baseball and was a batboy for five and a half seasons. That was probably because no one else would have done it as cheaply as I did. I did it for free the first season and a half and for $1.50 a game for the next four.
I was the public address announcer my freshman year at UT, again for free. It was understandable that I have been a baseball fan for almost all my life.
But Major League Baseball is about to lose me and many, many others.
I started becoming disgusted several years ago when unappreciative, prima-donna athletes started getting salaries of $25 million and up.
Republicans in the U.S. House used to have two African-American parliamentarians working for us who were big sports fans.
One day a few years ago, one gentleman asked me what I thought about the Washington Nationals signing pitcher Max Scherzer to an eight year, $240 million dollar contract.
I told them, “Well, it may surprise you, but I find it almost impossible to root for anyone making $30 million a year.”
Now, the MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, has fallen for the very false, left-wing propaganda of CNN and MSNBC and moved the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.
He has done this in response to the Georgia Legislature passing a bill to try to make it more difficult to cheat in elections.
He probably has received praise from those who work for him and in very wealthy social circles, since most very wealthy today are very liberal and politically correct.
But I listen to many sports programs, and based on what I have heard and read, he has disgusted many ordinary baseball fans. And baseball is slowly going down in popularity as its fan base is aging. It cannot afford to keep losing fans.
Mr. Manfred over-reacted. He made a rush to judgement without reading the law and without talking its supporters and listening to the other side.
Even with the new law, Georgia has more liberal voting rules than most blue states.
No Republican leaders are trying to suppress African-American voters. African-American leaders know that is a false charge, but they do it to try to make their voters angry and make sure that they turn out for the elections.