Memorial Day 2014 saw every MLB club donning camouflage caps and camo-lettered jerseys, a recent tradition that irks the Globe & Mail’s Cathal Kelly, who finds such wartime trappings inappropriate for the Toronto Blue Jays. “We are the United States’ global partner, not its kid brother,” argues Kelly. “When you’re traipsing around a ball field in a simulation of battledress, you’re making the whole thing seem like fun..I doubt anybody who’s been through it feels that way.”
Every time Canada does one of these overreaching, ‘Please like us’ efforts on the U.S., I am reminded of Homer Simpson’s rationale for not wanting to travel here on vacation: “Why should we leave America to visit America Jr.?”
There is the disorienting sense of rah-rah about the whole thing. It’s a celebration, which seems the wrong tone if what we are doing is honouring those who have been harmed or risked harm on our behalf.
Seeing your heroes running around in camo is neither heartening nor instructive. It’s toying with politics. Cheering in that environment is a mandate of the hive mind, because are you going to be the one guy who sits on his hands while everyone is standing? No matter how good the intention, it’s coercive and arbitrary.
When you don the trappings of war in an environment that has nothing to do with real battle, you are play-acting. I’m not sure what the sight of 17 Americans, five Dominicans, a Venezuelan and an Australian wearing the distinctive camo of the Canadian military is supposed to mean to Canadians. The only guy who makes any sense is Brett Lawrie.
I’m also trying to imagine Carlos Delgado – who famously sat during God Bless America as an act of protest – going along with this.