How do we judge our idols? At the funeral of Stan Musial on Saturday, held in the lovely Catholic ‘New’ Cathedral in downtown St. Louis…Bob Costas pretty much hit a home run. While I was crying at his words…and breaking up along with Bob when he got to the part (see video) about how Stan Musial said “Deal me in.” to the blacks in the clubhouse…it wasn’t until later that I remember Bob’s recent remarks about gun control during a football game not too long ago. (He wants to ban them)
You have to remember…Bob is a liberal…and yet, here was a liberal crying over the very things that conservatives pretty much take for granted. Decency. Integrity. Honesty. Stan Musial had all those traits..not only throughout his career, which stopped 50 years ago, but throughout his life. Anyone here in St. Louis, who ran into Stan Musial..got a big smile, and at the least, an autograph.
Conservatives everywhere, take those tratis for granted. To us, those traits are as easy as breathing. We didn’t think nothing of Stan being the way he was…after all…he was conservative. Went to church, stayed married to his high school sweetheart. Never put anyone down for their politics. He was a great ballplayer, sure…but there are millions that live their lives the same way Stan did.
I’m not sure Bob knows that.
An hour before the funeral, I saw an interview with Robert Redford. Robert Redford was repeating the Obama’s mantra: People don’t want change, but it’s coming regardless of whether they like it or not. Period. He was talking about conservatives.
Here’s Obama’s words:
There are going to be some areas where that change is going to be very hard for Republicans. I suspect, for example, that already there are some Republicans who embrace the changing attitudes in the country as a whole around LGBT issues and same-sex marriage. But there’s a big chunk of their constituency that is going to be deeply opposed to that, and they’re going to have to figure out how they navigate what could end up being divisions in their own party. And that will play itself out over years.
Among the crowd at the funeral was all the town’s sports figures: Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa, Commissioner Bud Selig, and Robert Pujols. It was a very long program because they showed the whole Catholic Mass on TV.
So— Here was two great ‘conservative’ American traditions: The Catholic Mass and American Baseball, and the theme of the day, was not only what a great ball player that Stan had been, but what a great human being. Bob spoke as if…nobody sees this kind of decency anymore.
Obviously not him.
To Bob…(by his speech) men like Stan are..rare. Morality, decency, living a humble life…that’s the past.
Our country was founded on morality. On decency. On each man making his own mark, and then giving back. And those very important rules are based on religion. (That Obama smirks that we “cling”to.) That shows how much we have changed…Lance Armstrong, the steriods…you don’t have to look too far to see corruption in sports, or politics, or anything anymore for that matter.
And while Bob Costas eulogy will go down in history as being one of the best ever given about any man, Stan’s brother-in-law made an even more important reminder than the fact that Stan wasn’t prejudice. (As so many conservatives ALSO…are not.) He reminded everyone, that Stan Musial worked with the Catholic Church AND the Pope, (Back when Reagan was President) to help funnel money over to Poland, which helped defeat the communists in Russia and Poland. When Obama presented him with the Congressional Metal of Freedom last year, he certainly didn’t mention what the man did.
I’m sure, Obama could have cared less.
The “change” that Robert Redford and Obama are talking about is why I found this funeral so sad. I think, the fact that Bob sees the abhorrent behavior that has become the norm in our sports was why he was crying, and maybe he was asking himself… Why can’t all men be as decent as Stan Musial?
The real fact is: there are still millions of Stan Musials in America, living lives of ‘quiet desperation” helping their neighbors, loving their families, trying to be good citizens(buyinig McDonalds for the grandkids on Saturday)—and they are being attacked, while the sport figures, rap singers, horror fiction writers, movie stars…etc…are getting pats on the back for being basically rich drug addicts, adulterers, cheaters, and liars. The boys of summer are found on the ski slopes of Aspen, waiting for the next cocaine fix to come in.
Like Stan Musial, the common conservative man will never get on the news. And it’s that common, decent man who they want to not only ‘change” but crush.
Nobody could stop thinking about that through the whole funeral.
When the coffin was carried into the church, it had only a white linen drape. No flowers were on it. No roses of any sort. It was simple. Plain…like the man.
His grandson said “Gee, I had to follow Bob Costas.” with a sigh, but then said probably the most important thing: He looked into the camera and said he wanted everyone watching to try to be just like Stan.
Stan the Man, is the quintessence of the America that most of us grew up with. They drapped him in the American flag as they carried him out, as if to say to all the liberals: Here lies an American dream…watch and weep, and honor “Stan the Man.” He was the best of us.
And should you ever get to St. Louis, go stand in front of Stan’s statue, and bring a harmonia, and play a tune. Stan would love it…he never went anywhere without his. And don’t forget to read what it says:
“Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.”