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A Fan Base Lament: "Say it ain't so, Senator"

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That betrayal involved "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, most recently heard from as a player (portrayed by Ray Liotta) in the movie Field of Dreams.

"Shoeless Joe" was one of a group of Chicago White Sox players who shattered the dreams of loyal fans when they were charged with criminal behavior.

The facts of the story are these: "Shoeless Joe" Jackson was on trial as one of the players accused of throwing games at the behest of gamblers in the 1919 World Series.

During the 1920 trial, a young boy pulls on the sleeve of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson as he leaves the courthouse, and says, "Say it ain't so, Joe."

Forty years later, in 1949, Furman Bisher interviewed an aging Jackson for SPORT magazine two years before Jackson died. In the interview, Jackson said he did not remember the incident of the pleading fan.

News stories at the time insisted the boy's lament did take place.

Bisher's interview revealed Jackson's bewilderment that after a jury acquitted all of the players of any illegal behavior, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the newly appointed Commissioner of Baseball, banned all eight players from ever playing again.

A 1921 newspaper account described the rationale behind Landis' blanket ban against the players:

"While the players had been acquitted, none of them could ever be allowed back into the game if it was to clean up its public image."

The legend of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson lingers on in baseball lore to remind us that betrayal hurts the most when a favorite who had been trusted proves to be unworthy of that trust.

Warren's progressive political base was stunned when she embraced Israel's rationale for its invasion.

To a major segment of Warren's political base, an endorsement of Israel's continued immoral and brutal conduct in the invasions and the ongoing occupation, is felt as betrayal of the highest order.

In sports, as in politics, two public arenas so much alike in so many ways, urchins of all ages are emotionally wounded when their heroes or would-be heroes are exposed by reality.

It is still too early for progressives to brand Warren as a PEP. She has, after all, developed skills that have made her a successful politician since her days as a Washington economics guru. The next few months will test her ability to balance conflicting political demands.

One set of those demands emerged during a recent visit Warren made to Tufts University. Jeff Klein wrote the story of Warren's encounter with her base at Tufts:

"When Elizabeth Warren came to Tufts University in Medford on Monday she was met by anti-war and Palestinian rights activists who asked why the popular senator and national Democratic Party celebrity seemed to echo Israeli talking points about the recent Israel attack on Gaza."

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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