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Spit and grab your crotch at the ending, as Roseanne Barr did in 1990, and the president himself will declare your performance "disgraceful." Others have protested the idea of the song itself.Goshen College in Indiana, a Mennonite school that competes in the NAIA, recently decided that the violent lyrics clashed with its mission, which it sums up in the slogan "Healing the world, peace by peace." Goshen will not play the anthem before athletic competitions this academic year, substituting "America the Beautiful."As the good people of Goshen have noted, the song's wartime roots are unmistakable.Hatched during one war, institutionalized during another, this song has become so entrenched in our sports identity that it's almost impossible to think of one without the other. And when the nation collectively decided to right itself, to acknowledge tragedy while reclaiming everyday life, it turned to sports -- and to the anthem.Across MLB, teams surrounded the song with tributes to the victims and the country's public servants. The most memorable lines involve rockets and bombs, and the lesser-known verses conjure "the havoc of war" and "the gloom of the grave."The second thing to remember? THE FIRST THING to remember is that it's a battle song.There was also World War I, which blackened everything, including the national pastime. Veterans who survived often came home maimed or shell-shocked from encounters with modern warfare's first mechanized mass-killing machines. The war strained the economy and the workforce, including baseball's.
But at the time, the Cubs were so highly regarded that their World Series home was not Wrigley Field (then Weeghman Park), which seated only 14,000 fans; the National League champs instead rented out the White Sox's Comiskey Park, which accommodated about 30,000. had entered the war 17 months earlier, and in that time some 100,000 American soldiers died.
Key wrote it to bear witness to a bloody battle during the War of 1812. It's not as if every other country in the world plays its anthem before every game. THAT STORY BEGINS, as so many tales in modern American sports do, with Babe Ruth.