- - Friday, July 26, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees’ nonpareil closing righthand pitcher who helped them win five World Series titles, should be shunned, according to the lefty online journal Daily Beast. 

Inducted on July 21 to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, Mr. Rivera is anathema to the Beast and its ilk on four counts:

• He is a black American athlete who will not trash America.

• He is an evangelical Christian.

• He is a vocal supporter of Israel.



• Perhaps most damning, he has actually participated in White House events with President Trump.

Robert Silverman, author of “Inside Baseball Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera’s Far-Right Politics,” is careful to credit Mr. Rivera for his athletic accomplishments, placing him among legendary players: 

Rivera represents a nearly unbroken succession of Yankee greatness that stretches all the way back to the 1920s, from Ruth and Gehrig to DiMaggio and Mantle, and then Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter.”

He notes that Mr. Rivera is the “all-time leader in both regular season and postseason saves … . Amazingly, he grew even more dominant in October, when his ERA shrank to 0.70. … he was the first player ever to be unanimously voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor that was entirely merited.”

Then he drops a spiked shoe on Mr. Rivera’s face: 

“And over the past three years, he’s also served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.”

In other words, like tens of millions of Americans, Mr. Rivera goes to church, likes Mr. Trump, thinks that God gave the Promised Land to the Jewish people, and supports the current conservative Israeli administration of Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Rivera insisted he would retire from baseball in 2003 [he finally did in 2013] in order to focus on evangelical work,” Mr. Silverman writes, adding that Philippians 4:13 “was scribbled on his cleats.”

For some reason, Mr. Silverman declined to include the actual short verse, a favorite of many Christians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.””

He did link to it, however, which may have prompted curious readers to check it out online and thus be exposed to even more Scripture. God, as we know, can work in mysterious ways.

Mr. Silverman’s article lauds black athletes who have taken left-wing stands, and links to “The New Golden Age of Black Athlete Activism,” an article by fellow Daily Beaster Craig Mills published in October 2016 and updated in March.  

“Today, there is a new brand of black athlete. They’re courageous, high profile, and smarter than you think,” Mr. Mills wrote. 

“Smarter than you think?” This couldn’t have been better expressed by Joe Biden, who in 2007 said of Barack Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Mr. Mills favorably cited a few black athletes who took public stands for various causes, including John Carlos and Tommie Smith for their Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, for his refusal to stand for the national anthem. The article was written before Mr. Kaepernick recently persuaded Nike to take the Betsy Ross flag off a shoe, which would have added to his luster.  

Mr. Mills took shots at Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods for being “largely silent on political and social issues.” Likewise, Mr. Silverman made Mr. Rivera look sneaky for sticking to sports topics and not trumpeting his political views when he was playing. 

All of this is yet more evidence that the left wants to politicize everything, even the sports section. Mr. Mills held up as a role model the celebrity/activist Harry Belafonte, a singer who helped popularize calypso music in the 1950s and 1960s.

A longtime communist, Mr. Belafonte favored Cuba over Ronald Reagan’s America, saying, “If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!” according to Discoverthenetworks.org.  

Historian Ron Radosh describes Mr. Belafonte as “an unreconstructed Stalinist — a man who firmly, profoundly believes that America is evil.”

So, any black athlete worth his salt is supposed to dance to Mr. Belafonte’s siren song of socialism or face the kind of treatment that the Daily Beast dishes out to deserters from the leftwing plantation.  

Mariano Rivera and other courageous, conservative black Americans have made it clear that they aren’t about to be told what to think. 

Let the Beast rage all it wants. 

• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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