The playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” before a baseball game
Is routine yet magical, a throw-back to a time when the people
Of America understood that we were one and belonged together.
The notes remind us of our love for the game and for the states
That are and should be so united that we are a marriage of hopes,
Ideas, ideals, laws, and dreams. The love affair between the song
And the game — the national anthem and the national pastime —
Began during World War I, after we had lost 100,000 members of
Our Military, when the Red Sox and the Cubs were playing in the
First game of the 1918 Series. When the U. S. Navy band began to
Play the song. Boston player Fred Thomas, on special furlough from
The Navy so that he could play, looked at the flag and saluted, and
His teammates did the same, as did fans standing for the seventh-
Inning stretch. They stood together, honoring the memory of the
Fallen and the lives of those still fighting — real patriots who
Understood the lyrics and what was described in the time of an
Earlier war — and the fans in the stadium saw the depth of the
Unified sacrifice being made for them, for their families, so they
Stood proud and sang their harmony with the spirit of those who
Had founded the grand experiment. At song’s end, the crowd that
Had been subdued let out a common roar of faith. The song would
Be played in each game till that Series ended, a practice Boston
Later made official every game, as did other teams, then other sports,
But as is proper for our nation’s first official home-grown sport,
Baseball was the first!  And how vital it is that each time the anthem
Is played and sung and heard, we are reminded that we are devotees
Not only of the sport but of the Land, that our common heritage
Includes the history of baseball and the true ideals of a nation, as the
Lyrics say, is “blest with victory and peace.”