Before both games of their doubleheader on Tuesday, the Nats wore Navy batting practice caps paying tribute to the victims at the Navy Yard. Many players offered pretty heartfelt thoughts about what happened, and whether baseball means anything in that context.
Keith Olbermann, though, did not like the way the episode was handled, devoting more than 10 minutes on Tuesday to a critique of the Nats and Major League Baseball.
Here’s an excerpt. His argument is longer, with several points not touched on here. His beef, to be clear, was not with any players, but with the team and the league.
“The Washington Nationals assumed just a corner of the grief and horror that had befallen their neighbors at the Washington Navy Yard,” OIbermann said. “They did all they could do symbolically to honor the fallen, the service to which they belonged, and the families — both the literal ones and the Navy family that will have to carry on. They wore the blue and gold, they wore United States Navy baseball caps, they wore them even as the National Anthem played. And then came gametime, and the Nationals took the Navy caps off and put their regular ones back on.
“I’m told by a reliable Washington source that at least some of the players did not want to take the Navy caps off, but still they did. And then just as they had been symbolically telling the victims and the Navy and the nation that they were with them all the way, now the Nationals and Major League Baseball were symbolically declaring that all the way was over, and the grief was over, and the mourning was over, and the regular caps were back on, and available online, and at souvenir stands, and from stadium vendors.
“Just to underscore this point when the Nationals came back onto the field for the second half of that day-night doubleheader, they were again wearing the Navy caps. And as soon as the second game began, again, off came those hats and back on went the regular ones. Navy hats, fine while there’s no live television available throughout the world of the game. Once the cameras go on, the tribute caps come off.”
Olbermann took issue with the Nats never even asking whether they could wear the hats during the game, arguing that they were too beaten down by MLB’s profiteering history to even pose the question.
“Shame on the Nationals; more shame on MLB,” he later said.