This past weekend was Memorial Day: a day to honor those who have protected us and paid the highest price, either as a result of their service or under unrelated circumstances. Regardless, each and every one of us has either been directly affected by the death of a veteran — perhaps we lost a parent, grandparent, brother, cousin, or friend — or indirectly, through someone we know who lost someone close to them.
So how did Major League Baseball commemorate this hallowed day?
MLB commemorated Memorial Day with uniforms, caps, and such accented with camouflage, as in previous years. But something was different. This year, each team posted a cookie-cutter tweet via New Era, the cap brand used by Major League Baseball. The tweets were ... not exactly tasteful, to say the least. The tweets were clearly intended to promote New Era rather than to commemorate the solemness of Memorial Day. Two of the tweets are shown below, for example.
See what I mean?
It seems like the tweets — that as far as I know, were tweeted by every major league team — were solely to sell the New Era caps.
That’s wrong. So, so wrong.
It’s disrespectful to those that sacrificed themselves for us. It’s disrespectful to their families and friends. It’s disrespectful all the way around. Period.
There is a claim that MLB is donating the proceeds of the caps to charities, but I can’t seem to find any evidence of this — despite searching the New Era and MLB websites and Twitter pages. Even if that’s true, and it probably is, it’s not enough to make up for the fact the caps have become a way for the league and New Era to make money using the memory of fallen soldiers, as Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy pointed out:
generations of soldiers died protecting our country and its freedoms- don't forget to buy an official baseball hat to say thank you— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) May 29, 2017
Wearing poppies is a much more tasteful way to honor those that served.
I was pleased to see that some of the Detroit Tigers went above and beyond by wearing poppies on their uniforms on Monday night, as Paul Lukas of UniWatch noted:
Wearing a poppy to remember the fallen is a tradition that goes back to 1921 and was originally to honor soldiers killed in World War I. Today, poppies are worn mostly around Veteran’s Day in November, but they have become more common around Memorial Day in recent years as well.
Justin Verlander especially understands the importance of honoring soldiers, not just at Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day but throughout the year. His charity Wins For Warriors teamed up with USAA this month to help raise awareness of the symbolism of wearing a poppy, using this television advertisement that aired over the weekend as a jumping off point.
In the future, MLB should look to Verlander and others for guidance on the appropriate handling of Memorial Day.
It’s quite obvious that the league has no idea what it’s doing or simply doesn’t care. Is revenue more important than properly and respectfully honoring those that made the highest sacrifice for us? Really?
If Major League Baseball thinks so, the league has major issues that need to be corrected. The way things are right now is downright unacceptable.