Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake isn’t working the World Series this year, which has allowed him to enjoy some downtime and indulge in some of his other pursuits, like commenting about the current state of politics and tweeting about buying a rifle in case President Trump gets impeached because there’s a war coming if the president’s removed from office.
Drake tweeted late Tuesday that he planned to buy an AR-15 rifle “because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020”, according to a copy of the tweet obtained by ESPN.
The tweet, which was deleted soon after it was posted, followed one earlier in the night regarding the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings with President Donald Trump.
The other tweet read: “You can’t do an impeachment inquiry from the basement of Capital Hill without even a vote! What is going on in this country?”
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the league is investigating the now-deleted tweet, but honestly, what is there to investigate? Did Rob Drake threaten violence? No. Case closed. Investigation over.
I happen to disagree with Drake’s premise that a civil war would break out if Trump is removed from office, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that civil unrest may occur, just as it may occur if President Trump wins re-election next year. Things are tense right now, and most folks seem more interested in lighting matches than extending olive branches. Around the world we’re watching civil unrest and demonstrations, in Hong Kong, Spain, Iraq, and several South American nations. Are we really supposed to believe that the United States is immune from similar unrest if tensions keep ramping up?
Obviously critics of President Trump, the Second Amendment, AR-15’s, and gun owners in general are clutching their pearls over Drake’s tweet, but this is really much ado about nothing. Drake is simply expressing an opinion that is unpopular among most members of the media, including sports writers, and we all know what happens next. This isn’t baseball. This is the Wokening, and you don’t get three strikes before you’re out. You and your career get tossed after one misstep or wrong opinion.
Rob Drake isn’t a gazillionaire basketball star like Lebron James, who’s been widely panned for cozying up to China and criticizing Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morley, who tweeted “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong” earlier this month. James will ride out the controversy with his wallet intact, though he may be trading his dollars for yuan at some point. Rob Drake is a 50-year old umpire who is unknown to all but the most hardcore baseball fans. He doesn’t have a fan base to stick up for him, though that could change if President Trump weighed in on the situation with a few tweets of his own. As it stands now though, MLB could punish Drake for his comments and few people would take notice, outside of the professional and perpetually offended.
Again, I don’t see anything wrong with what Drake tweeted out, though I wish he would have spelled “civil war” correctly and stayed away from the caps lock key. That’s not enough to punish someone, unless maybe they worked for the grammar police instead of Major League Baseball. Hopefully the commissioner comes out in the next day or two and says something like, “So, we investigated, and we found out that there’s this thing called freedom of expression in this country, and since Drake was expressing his personal opinion off the clock and on his own private Twitter account, whether we agree with him or not is irrelevant. He’s got the right to say what he wants to say, and we’re in the business of playing baseball, not policing speech. Now go watch the World Series.”
I suspect a more likely scenario is the commissioner says they’re investigating until the news cycle moves on and reporters forget that they’re supposed to still be outraged by Drake’s tweet. Once the controversy fades, the “investigation” is quietly dropped, and we all move on to the next outrageous outrage.
There’s always the possibility that Rob Manfred comes out and announces that Drake has been punished in any way for his tweet, in which case Major League Baseball really will have a controversy on their hands. The league has the chance to do right thing here, which is to do absolutely nothing at all.