It began with such promise. Baseball was happy. Baseball was human.
On the eve of the All-Star game, in its signature home run derby, the hometown boy made good. In front of a chanting crowd in the nation’s capital, Bryce Harper swung for the fences while wearing not a cap but a colorful headband in the image of the District of Columbia flag. We saw his face, we felt his joy, his burly father was the pitcher, we lived through their affection, it all felt so real.
When the competition was complete, Harper gloriously flipped his bat forward with two hands, the fans roared, and in that moment our ancient pastime felt fresh, engaged, connected.
But over the course of the...