The book: “Weaponized Baseball: Declassified, Withheld Stories Reveal Baseball’s Hidden Role in Geopolitics, International Military Action, Mental Manipulation & Mass Distraction”
The author: Scott A. Rowan
The vital statistics: Sherpa Multimedia, 256 pages, $24.95. Released in March.
Find it: At Amazon.com, the publishers website
The pitch: Scott Rowan connects dots, deciphers codes, and advances theories.
Maybe as bizarre as ones as he can find.
Like Art Bell and UFOs.
If a baseball-related book can be both enjoyable and disturbing, invigorating and brow-raising, Rowan, who previously wrote “The Cubs Quotient: How the Chicago Cubs Changed The World” in 2014, can probably make you believe that the ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field were done that way so that camouflaged spies could send signals easier to those at the Chicago Navy base.
Taking the research approach that you can’t know everything you think you already know, Rowan goes through world history and pinpoints how baseball had an “often-hidden role” in government policy, military planning, religion, commerce, innovation, entertainment, social control, crime, gangs, law and order.
Yes, it’s mind-blowing.
Rowan, a journalist from a military intelligence family background, just can’t help himself.
Rowan admits in the end that perhaps ignorance is bliss, but “it can be dangerous. My goal is to help sports fans and the general public get a peek behind the curtain of many aspects of life that they take for granted, never knew about or felt was imagined or unreal.”
Start with perhaps how the Yankees got their name. It’s beginnings go to the famous song “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” which British troops used to sing in mock of U.S. military during the Revolutionary War. What’s the song really about? Rowan explains. We’ll leave it that.
Why was baseball a demonstration sport at the 1936 Munich Olympics? Because Hitler wanted everyone to know that he admired the American game, and could use it to perhaps learn more about U.S. thinking and “diminish suspicion” about what he was really up to. He told the Americans that he and girlfriend Eva Braun were working on a documentary about baseball. No film was ever discovered. And it turns out, the American team was the only one to participate. They held a split-squad exhibition. Too bad Jackie Robinson wasn’t on the team, while his brother, Mack, was with the U.S. track team finishing second to Jesse Owens in the 100-meter sprint.
(And Rowan has already created a Hitler baseball card for you to collect and trade, above. Maybe Curt Schilling has an opinion about that, too).
Did Walter O’Malley benefit from the “Red Scare” of the 1950s to eventually land a spot in Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers? The assistant director of the L.A. Housing Commission conveniently was accused of being a communist and spent nine months in prison in 1958. That helped derail the idea that public housing would be put on the spot and O’Malley had the land available. Much of it was already spelled out as well in a 2015 book by John H. M. Laslett called “Shameful Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine” by University of Arizona books.
If only it was the Cincinnati Reds moving into town instead.
Did president Richard Nixon and his dubious ties to corruption in Nicaragua have anything to do with Roberto Clemente feeling the need to accompany earthquake relief funds to the country in 1972, which led to his ultimate tragic death?
Baseball-ocracy as a military distraction has obvious ties to Fidel Castro and Cuba, but also to Haitian genocide in the Dominican Republic in the late 1930s, to General Douglas MacArthur’s World War II campaign, to Moe Berg’s trip to Japan with a group of baseball stars in the early ‘30s.
Baseball players came to the rescue of the U.S. military suffering from sexually transmitted diseases as they were trying to fight off Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.
And that’s not even the more outrageous connections made by Rowan, who otherwise is known in the literary field as the creator of The Super Fins, a digital news magazine and book series that teaches people about key aquatic issues by exploring the amazing “superpowers” that aquatic animals posses.
If we told you more, we might have to … well, you know how it goes. But someday, if real superpower Marlins are playing for Don Mattingly’s team in Miami, you’ll connect the dots back here.