Set against all this is Guthrie’s song, which the Orioles, who finish the season at Yankee Stadium, will have a chance to play again this year only if the team makes it to the playoffs. Regardless, they plan to keep playing “This Land” next season. In the meantime, Angelos is keeping a close eye on all the ripple effects created by Kaepernick.
“I hope people in the sports industry are learning from what Colin Kaepernick is doing,” he said. “I hope we can learn that speaking out about your country is not un-American, that words like ‘un-American’ have no place.”
As for the criticism Kaepernick has faced, Angelos called it “disgusting.” “It reeks of McCarthyism,” he said.
The history of Guthrie’s tune is linked to “God Bless America,” which was written by Irving Berlin and then recorded by Kate Smith in 1938, when it became a hit at a time of uneasiness in the years leading up to World War II.
Guthrie, who had spent years traveling the country during the Great Depression, had Communist sympathies and a different, more defiant, vision of the United States than the one conveyed in “God Bless America.’’ As an answer to that song, he wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940.
His original lyrics questioned the merits of private property and included lines that were never officially recorded: “By the relief office, I saw my people. As they stood there hungry, I stood there wondering if this land was made for you and me.” Through the years, the song was popularized by Guthrie’s son, Arlo, and others, including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen.
John Shaw, the author of “This Land That I Love,” a book about…