The most patriotic moments at Yankee Stadium can also be the most confining.
Seconds before “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” are played, police officers, security guards and ushers turn their backs to the American flag in center field, stare at fans moving through the stands and ask them to stop. Across the stadium’s lower section, ushers stand every 20 feet to block the main aisle with chains.
As the songs are played or sung, the crowd appears motionless.
Yeah, confining people with chains will have that effect.
The national anthem has long been a pregame staple at sporting events. But after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Major League Baseball directed teams to play “God Bless America” before the bottom of the seventh inning at every game. Baseball scaled back the next season, telling teams they needed to play the song only on Sundays and holidays, which is still the case.
Only the Yankees continue to play “God Bless America” at every home game. They are also the only ones to use chains to prevent fans from moving during both songs, which concerns some civil liberties advocates.
Howard J. Rubenstein, the spokesman for the Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner, said the policy was an expression of patriotism.
“Mr. Steinbrenner wanted to do all games to remind the fans about how important it is to honor our nation, our service members, those that died on Sept. 11 and those fighting for our nation,” Rubenstein said in a telephone interview.
Shackles of honor.
I'd love to go to a game there, venture outside the cordoned-off "freedom zone", duck under one of those "patriotism chains" on my way to the head, and have one of Steinbrenner's security monkeys lay his hands on me.
Now, what would my first order of business, as new owner of the Yankees, be?
(link via Adam G. at Universal Hub)