The national anthem has turned into a political event.
It’s now bigger news when players don’t protest.
But what two baseball players just did during the national anthem took fans by surprise.
On Monday night, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Alex Blandino and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Luis Oviedo flipped the script on national anthem protests by engaging in a friendly standoff to see who could stand longer at attention with their hand over their heart during and after the playing of the national anthem.
Blandino and Oviedo stood with the hands over their heart after the anthem finished and the teams began preparing for their game.
“When I tell you Blandino hasn’t moved in the last five minutes, I’m not joking,” the announcers noted. “That’s the first time I’ve seen him move his head. He is in true form here as the Pirates and the Reds set to do battle. It doesn’t look like either guy is giving in . . .”
The two even ignored a warning by the home plate umpire to get off the field.
Finally, Oviedo blinked and headed to the dugout first after a second warning.
You can watch the clip of the national anthem standoff below.
And this standoff belongs to the Reds. pic.twitter.com/ow32TtIpkh
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 10, 2021
For fans used to seeing players kneel during the anthem and disrespect the military, it was pleasing to see two players actually compete to see who could stand at attention with their hand over their heart longer.
This display was a reminder that sports can be fun and patriotic.
Not every game needs to be a referendum on Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, or the state of policing in America.
Sports are the escape from all that.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.