The pre Easter economic bombshell that hit our Cobb County truly should give one pause. I have heard from a number of local officials who expressed their disappointment and sadness over the decision of major league baseball to relieve the county of the much deserved, super star weeklong event, which has long been the premier annual event of the game. My reaction was that of outrage and fury at the decision that emitted clear evidence of a fire, ready, aim reaction that usually results in a decision devoid of reason.
A couple of points became quite clear to me. The decision was most likely made by an individual or individuals that never ran a small business or had to meet an employee payroll. Moreover, the decision was likely made without bearing in mind the history of baseball, especially amongst small businesses and minority fans. They did not think about the historical significance of the plights of Jackie Robinson, Luke Easter and Larry Doby, to name a significant few. It is important to bear in mind the impact of today’s player prosperity was due, in large part, to the sacrifice of Curt Flood, of the St. Louis Cardinals. And last but certainly not least, the well deserved, planned celebration, and recognition of the Hammer himself, Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron. He so deserved another rousing applause and fist pumps from a sold out, masked, yet generous crowd of fans showing much love for our hero. Aside from Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox, I never saw a baseball player who would send a ball out of the park with the extraordinary wrist power of Hank Aaron. No steroids, no enhancers, just plain power and God given talent. I met him in his later years and he was still bigger than life and a gentleman, to boot.
To me, the balance of reason and due deliberation appears to have been short circuited in the rush to appease the wrong base and in doing so, took food off the table, gratuities, profits out of the pockets and the pocketbooks of hard working individuals who look at a calendar each month to see what might help improve their fortune over the previous month. They are thinking about the big question, how much can I expect to get to perhaps pay that unexpected bill?
It is serious matter anytime a claim is made that “You’re taking food off of my table,” or “You’re are taking the clothes off my back.” Each day, in a small business owner’s tenure, one stands in judgment and at the end of the day, judgment is passed. Did I protect my margins, or did I lose money today? The answer for a good number of working entrepreneurs, wait staff, valet attendants, and service workers in general, is a resounding thud, after MLB’s decision – No.
Cobb County demonstrated its commitment to small business by allocating and distributing over $40 million dollars to assist them in navigating the troubled waters stirred up by the pandemic of 2020. They had no idea that in one unreasonable stroke, an authority that was not invited to the economic rally and completely out of its control would minimize it.
A voice of reason might have been successful in pointing out that when there is any legislation that may appear to be undesirable, too onerous, even unreasonable, or claimed to be discriminatory, yet manages to get signed into law, there is a process to address it. My Julian calendar shows me that another legislative session will have come and conclude before the next significant election of 2022. Of course, the court system offers another for redress. A seasoned voice of reason and leadership would have pointed out that mixing sports with politics is bad chemistry and causes wounds to be opened that result seldom fully heal, even over time. We have several examples going back to the Olympics of 1936 when Adolph Hitler could not bear to watch a victorious Jesse Owens display his adapt speed and talent.
For me, there remains a key question for the Commissioner of Baseball and his government relations staff. What made you think your decision was the reasonable thing to do?
I will continue to keep the faith. The significance of which reminds me of the revered words of Justice Learned Hand. “Let’s hope that someday the ‘supremacy of reason’ and not of power will be a tenet by which we all live.