Why did the Philadelphia Phillies hand out Made-in-China trinkets on Opening Day 2012?
An opinion blog from Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Field Coordinator Mark Musho...
This past Tuesday was the home opener for the 2011 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies, at Citizens Bank Park. As the City of Brotherly Love began the kickoff of another season of America’s pastime, the atmosphere was almost carnival-like on a perfectly warm sunny spring day. The streets of South Philly were a sea of the teams’ colors of red, white and blue as Phillies fans filled the parking lots to fire up the grills and hoist their red plastic cups to the upcoming season.
As I was about to enter this cathedral to the most sacred of American sports, the ticket taker handed me a small plastic wrapped object as I passed through the turnstile. I could only imagine what piece of priceless memorabilia I was about to add to my personal collection. There were no markings on the plastic except for a white sticker in the center that said “Made in China." As I removed the contents from the plastic I saw inside was a replica of the 2011 NLC banner that would fly alongside the others at this ballpark.
I was stunned as I shuffled to my seat. On the field, the playing surface was covered by an immense American flag being held aloft by 50 members of the various branches of the U.S. armed services. Every state flag was being marched on to the field held by members of each precinct of the Philadelphia Police and every station house of the Philadelphia Firefighters. This day was a celebration of America and its national pastime, and the Phillies organization hands me a piece of plastic singularly marked “Made in China." Here in a baseball park where grown men are transported back in time to their childhood by the smell of fresh cut grass, hot dogs, popcorn and the chorus of “cold beer here” the Phillies organization chose to ignore the obvious. Here in the “Birthplace of our Nation," a blue-collar city that has seen the loss of thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs to some far off nation, the Phillies organization handed out 45,000 banners wrapped in plastic marked “Made in China." Here in the state of Pennsylvania, which lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, the Phillies chose to buy these “keepsakes” marked “Made in China."
On this day, the Phillies front office chose to celebrate America, its people and our national pastime by wrapping it in the colors and symbolism of the red, white and blue. Where they fell well short was by wrapping the 2011 commemorative banner in plastic marked “Made in China."
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