Jose Feliciano performed a rockin' version of the Star Spangled Banner tonight before the first game of the National League Championship Series (sigh) in San Francisco. It felt like closing a loop to watch it. In my first year as a baseball fan -- 1968, when I was 9 -- Feliciano was asked to sing the National Anthem before the World Series at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, and when he did his soulful, very non-tradional version, it caused a national uproar. This was the year of the RFK and MLK assassinations, the Tet offensive, and riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago, and now people thought the counter-culture was invading baseball. Nothing was safe!
You can read the fairly amazing backstory here. Now it's 2012, and no one says "boo" about the same version. A sign that we've come a long way, baby. Or is it...just San Francisco being San Francisco. The final bizarre kicker is that I suspect the Cardinals and Tigers will meet again in the World Series -- a 1968 re-match.
Programming note: I'm taking a well-deserved day off tomorrow. See you Tuesday for Debate Night in America.