- - Monday, December 3, 2018


Can California be saved? The Golden State, as it calls itself, grows ever more tarnished by the silly, the fatuous and the childish. And you thought gold doesn’t tarnish.

Certain baseball fans in San Francisco are stamping their feet just now that Mississippi elected a U.S. senator that no decent Frisco fan could approve of. They want everybody to boycott the town baseball team.

Charles Johnson, one of the owners of the San Francisco Giants, was discovered to have contributed, with his wife, $5,400 to the successful campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith, the new Mississippi senator. She is not only a Republican but a Republican, who, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, “joked of attending a public hanging in a state scarred by a history of lynching, who winked at the notion of voter suppression in a state that did so with lethal force and who proudly celebrated its treasonous Confederate past.”

Now some California baseball fans are demanding proper punishment, not of Mr. Johnson, vile though his sin may be, but of the San Francisco Giants. The baseball team has become mostly beloved since it moved from Manhattan 60 years ago just as San Francisco, a boisterous blue-collar port, blossomed into a city that imagines itself a junior-sized Manhattan. It has all the forward-looking attitudes about civil rights, gay rights, proper omelet pans, and the best and most colorful annual gay-rights parade. Scuffles sometimes break out over who carries the eight-foot papier-mache penis that is a symbol of the parade and the city.

Some of the penance San Francisco owes the world, or at least the part of the world worthy of penance, is novel, to say the least of it. Boycotting the team, for tolerating such a part-owner, and the city, for tolerating such a team, is only the beginning. One fan suggests that the team should announce that it can no longer in good conscience count the runs and hits scored for the Giants by players born in Mississippi.

Insensitive people argue this is impractical, unworkable and industrial-strength goofy. But it does not seem so in Baghdad by the Bay. California is special, and outlanders do not understand how special, if that is exactly the right word, it is.

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