As much as I detest displays of overt nationalism, I am proud to be an American, and sometimes displaying the flag is a very good thing. Keith Foulke has the right idea. He is not a DUMB@$$. Bud Selig is Satan, and he couldn't pass up a PR train wreck if it bit his on the @$$. He IS a DUMB@$$. Sometimes, it almost seems as if baseball is successful in spite of itself, and in spite of Satan...er, Bud Selig.
The flag flap is over for Keith Foulke.
After a personal letter from commissioner Bud Selig, plus talks between the players' union and baseball management as the Fourth of July approached, Foulke reluctantly packed away his Boston cap that featured a patch of the American flag.
"I still think I should be able to wear it," the Red Sox reliever said this week at Yankee Stadium. "But I don't want to do anything that would cost the team."
Foulke was the only player in the majors with his own such hat. The son of a U.S. Air Force man, he wore it most of the season to show his support for the American troops in Iraq.
"It's not like I was trying to call attention to myself," he said. "I'm a patriotic person, and it's just a personal thing I wanted to do. It was only about an inch square, on the left side, and a lot of people didn't even notice it."
But the commissioner's office saw it. Soon after, Foulke said, he began getting letters from Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations, saying the cap violated baseball's standard uniform code.
According to the sport's labor agreement, players cannot make individual changes to hats, jerseys and anything else they wear. The issue came up during the 2002 NL playoffs when San Francisco pitcher Jason Christiansen was told he could not continue writing Darryl Kile's number "57" on his cap in tribute to his late former teammate.
And in this case, the rule made Foulke's cap illegal.
Look, I could understand if a pitcher took the mound wearing a patch advertising "Chico's Bail Bonds" or something along those lines. But an American flag? Or a heartfelt tribute to a deceased former teammate? Surely, there is room here for reasonable interpretation of the rule? Or does Major League Baseball actually plan these PR clusterf***ks?
What makes this problem even worse is MLB's attempt to muzzle Foulke. Yes, not only can you not display a flag, you no longer have the right to express a dissenting opinion. Gee, how truly American, eh?
Take a bow, Bud (and you too, Bob). You're truly a DUMB@$$ worthy of the DUMB@$$ Hall of Fame- assuming there ever is one.