Programming note: It’s Major League Baseball postseason and Darts and Letters is (coincidentally) on a break this week. In honour of the playoffs, we’re running one of our favourite episodes — one fit for the season.
America’s national pastime is being taken over by a woke mob and a global communist cabal. So say the Republicans. If only…! Racism, conservative nostalgia, and economic exploitation is baked into the MLB. We discuss what’s wrong with baseball, why baseball matters, and what needs to be done to fix it.
- First (@6:51) Dave Zirin of the Nation breaks down the recent GOP hysterics over the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, and we have a wider conversation about left-wing sports journalism, and why sports ought to matter to the left–sports fan, and non sports fan alike.
- Then (@32:42), Jeremy Wolf was drafted in the 31st round by the New York Mets. He recounts the struggles of his short-lived minor league career, including the crummy food, poverty-level wages, and frightening economic precarity. Minor leaguers need support, and Wolf is doing just that through his work with More than Baseball.
- Plus (@50:04), Blue Jays writer Andrew Stoeten gives us the corporate history of Gordon’s favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Canada’s team is owned by one of Canada’s major telecommunications monopolies; what does that mean for the Blue Jays baseball, and what does it say about corporatization in the wider MLB?
- Finally (@60:06), philosopher Mark Kingwell reminds us why baseball is beauty, and why it ought to be protected. We discuss Kingwell’s philosophical, personal, and political reflections from his book Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters.
——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-
- Subscribe to Jeremy Wolf’s The Grind Podcast and check out the work he’s doing with More than Baseball.
- Subscribe to Andrew Stoeten’s Substack the Batflip for regular deep dives into all things Blue Jays.
- Read more of Dave Ziron’s writing in the Nation, especially his article the the 2021 All-Star Game, the story about how things went very differently when something similar happened a decade ago, and his moving obituary of Hank Aaron.
- Find Mark Kingwell’s op-ed in the Globe and Mail about the GOP’s recent hysterics around the 2021 MLB All Star Game, and listen to an old episode of CBC’s Ideas if you want to hear more about Fail Better.
——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-
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Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, our assistant producer is Ren Bangert and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. Our research coordinator is David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.
This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.