The Last Baseball Glove

Baseball used to be the known as America’s National Game – replaced, sadly for many reasons, by the dominating colossus of the National Football League.

But for many decades, baseball was The Game with hot summer days spent on dusty local fields, and with warm summer nights spent at a ballpark or listening to a game on a cheap AM radio before drifting off to sleep. For a kid, having a Rawlings or Wilson baseball glove was a talisman that enabled dreams of World Series glory – if only on a diamond in the neighborhood.

Likely, most of us never reflected on the fact that everything we used – gloves, bats, cleats and so on, were American made. No one, well except for some economists and business types, even considered anything else. But over the many, many decades since, most, if not all, of that equipment began being manufactured overseas, along with mostly everything else that had been built domestically.

At present, there is only one remaining domestic baseball glove manufacturer, Nokona.

Nokona gloves are hand made in Nocona, Texas and represent a legacy of craftsmanship and pride of work in something real. And something more – Nokona gloves are a reminder of what has been lost across America through decades of so-called free trade and offshoring of jobs.

Life in small-town communities centered on the local plant or factory where products – not computer code – were produced with pride: pride in both the product and one’s self for the work and the life it provided. Now many of those small towns are hollow shells.  The small businesses are long gone, replaced by giant Walmart stores. The young must leave as there is little to no opportunity, and those who remain struggle with domestic abuse, drug use, hopelessness, and suicide.

As I’ve commented on in the past, it’s been a long tragic journey from the blue-collar middle class to the execrable term “basket of deplorables” that exist today.

And it is story that’s reflected in an article I found that reflects on Nokona gloves and the community where they are made. It is a business desperately hanging on to preserve a way of life that serves so many in the local community.

Cynical financiers and politicians talk of China’s stealing of American jobs. But, I think the observation in the article is spot on: China didn’t steal U.S. jobs, they were handed them on a platter.

And it is a bipartisan project. Both Democrats and Republicans over the years have serviced the needs of the elite at the expense of the communities they were sent to DC to represent.

The populist revolt that started in 2016 with the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, has not abated. The 2020 election was primarily a referendum on Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 virus.  And yet, even with the mass death that we’ve seen, Biden only squeaked out a relatively narrow victory with Democrats failing to capture the Senate and losing House seats.

The rage Trump spoke to, if only used as device for his personal gain, still exists and will be apparent in 2022 when I believe the Democrats likely will lose the House and 2024 when another Republican is elected President.  People from small-towns and rural areas know both parties are corrupt but they see the Democrats – the party of FDR – as having no interest in them or the despair of their lives.

And in the face of that, is it any wonder businesses like Nokona face an uncertain future and communities like Nocona look only to phonies like Trump for help?

You can read the original article here.


Author: Tom

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