My beloved New York Times ran an article today about Germany’s national soccer museum in Dortmund that focused on how the museum holds up a mirror to Germany itself:
Any soccer fan — in fact, almost any German — will tell you that the moment the country first felt able to return with dignity to the international arena after the evil of Nazism came with what is known here as “the miracle of Bern,” the 3-2 victory in Switzerland over favored Hungary to win the World Cup in 1954…
…But the museum does not shy from Germany’s past. The national team of 1941 is seen giving the Nazi salute before a game in Sweden. An infamous 1944 propaganda film runs, showing Jewish inmates at the Nazis’ Theresienstadt camp near Prague playing soccer and ostensibly enjoying a relaxed life. (In reality, most were about to be shipped to Auschwitz.)
The German Football Association’s ban on women’s soccer from 1955 to 1970 is also related in detail — as are the considerable achievements of Germany’s female soccer team since.
I’d like to argue that while the Cooperstown Hall of Fame may not hold up a mirror to America, baseball certainly does and that, perhaps, explains why Major League Baseball’s brand has lost some of its shine.
This image was decidedly not approved by Major League Baseball or its affiliates
As a casual fan of basketball, it took me a while to notice that the NBA hadn’t started playing yet. (Disclosure: I am a nominal Knicks fan, so I have trouble understanding the difference between NBA teams playing and not playing)
Sports columnists and talk radio have centered on the conflict between owners and players at the heart of the lockout, and with good reason. The “millionaires versus billionaires” conflict makes great copy and/or discussion. Certainly, money lies at the heart of the dispute.
However, I wonder if the dispute owes itself to less obvious but perhaps more systemic problem. Let’s call this problem, in the argot of Animal Planet programming, “WHEN BRANDING ATTACKS!”Continue reading →