There’s a long, hot summer brewing, having nothing to do with the weather.
Our politics have always caused division and heat, but there is steam rising from our current blood-boiling divide. The attack on the Republican House baseball team was fueled by fiery rhetoric. Stunned by the shooting, politicians prayed and pundits called for peace even in partisanship. The truce lasted a day.
In the latest surveys, people who believe Donald Trump acted illegally or unethically with Russia are overwhelmingly Democrats. People who believe the media are the scum of the earth are overwhelmingly Republican. Our glasses are not rose-colored, but jersey-covered. You know this from your Facebook newsfeed.
I’m willing to admit it’s wearing me down, and I know I’m not alone. But I have seen a vision of, if not a cure, some much needed relief.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals were tied in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday. The stadium crew was trying to whip up a Dodger rally, playing pop music and splashing images of dancing fans onto the video boards.
The camera found an old but spry white-haired woman wearing a Dodger visor, dancing and clapping and twerking. Yes, twerking. Kind of. It was love at first sight for the camera and the crowd and Grandma, too.
Caught up in the moment, seeing herself on the screen, catching the fan reaction, she reached down, grabbed her bright Dodger blue polo shirt and lifted it up over her face, bra-flashing the 45,224 others in the stadium.
The crowd went wild.
Several Dodgers saw her and were sparked to a 5-4, 10th inning win. So she is now “Rally Granny,” or “Flashing Granny,” to the team, their fans, and many millions thanks to the internet.
She’s just who we need this summer.
We need a surprise. We need a spontaneous smile. We need something – someone? – to cut across the politics, slice through the steam and say, “Hey – lighten up! Take a breath. Leave the eye-ripping for tomorrow.”
It may not be coincidence Flashing Rally Granny came along at this moment. Morganna, the big-breasted “Kissing Bandit” planted her first on Pete Rose in 1969, another notoriously noxious time in America.
“Streaking” peaked in summer 1974 on the naked heels of Ray Stevens’ Number One hit, as America waited for a president to turn over his tapes. In July, the Supreme Court told Nixon he must. He resigned two weeks later.
The human psyche cannot maintain highest alert or highest tension indefinitely. It needs a break. Movie musicals boomed during the Depression. Bob Hope cheered our troops.
I call on Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to commission Flashing Rally Granny into appearances at ball parks from now until the World Series. Maybe even then.
Her appearances will be kept secret. When the seventh inning rolls around and a stadium camera comes on and fans suddenly see Flashing Rally Granny in their stands in her bright blue shirt commencing to do her thing, they’ll go nuts. The joy they feel will be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.
Come on, Commissioner. We’re tearing ourselves apart. Use this fun loving, free-spirited woman, and baseball – which has always marked our time in America – to remind us of all that was once good and could be again.
People will love it, Rob. People will most definitely love it.
(With apologies to W.P. Kinsella.)
Observer contributor Keith Larson can be heard on “The Larson Page” weekdays at Noon on ESPN Charlotte (730 AM) and TheLarsonPage.com.