By Ken Reed
Ever since 9/11, Major League Baseball teams have been playing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. Most teams play it during Sunday and holiday games. The Baltimore Orioles play it on Saturdays. The New York Yankees play the song during the 7th inning of every home game.
The Orioles also play Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” at Friday home games. The song is filled with populist themes. The Orioles are the only team to play the song during the seventh inning stretch.
“‘God Bless America’ speaks to a lot of people,” said John Angelos, the Orioles’ chief operating officer and the son of the team’s owner, Peter Angelos. But, he added, “there is a strain of progressivism in American life, and if we can reflect it, I think that’s a good thing.”
Angelos said the Orioles intent is to include all citizens, all types of heroes and all kinds of thinking. The Orioles’ primary intent was to diversify and honor everyday heroes and not just members of the military. For example, last Friday the Orioles honored community hero Reneita Smith, a bus driver who saved a group of elementary students from a burning bus.
“People forget a lot of these stadiums are publicly funded buildings and, by law, they have to welcome people from all different walks of life,” Angelos said.
“Sometimes sports can be narrowcast in the causes and groups focused on. Our idea is that everyone should be included; let’s not leave anyone out.
“We can honor a veteran, but we can also honor a veteran who is against a particular war. That diversity is what the song represents.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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