Tyler sat up in bed, tossing his Phillies blanket to the side. He smelled... burning. Even the Domonic Brown poster on his wall looked concerned. Chooch and the rest of the aces bounced their bobbleheads worriedly on his dresser. Something was amiss... the house wasn't normally on fire.
He crept down the steps as if it were Christmas Eve, and his child's sense of wonder had led him out of bed to catch a glimpse of Santa. But it wasn't Santa. It was pretty much the opposite: a middle-aged man burning a pile of clothes.
Tyler's father was an abrupt man, so "magic" and "wonder" were not common themes in their house. Often, Dad would act with a sense of impulse that came flying out of a middle-schooler's logic, cultivated by the internet and sheltered by his stubbornness.
Tyler sighed, massaged his temples, put aside his worries about what the kids at school would do if they ever heard about this, and began the exchange.
Dad spun around, a welcoming smile on his face. "Good morning, son!" He noticed Tyler looking for the most part at the burning pile of Phillies shirts, hats, and jerseys.
"There are lots of good, sane reasons to do this," dad explained. "Here, have a seat on my knee."
Tyler looked worriedly at the flames as they licked ravenously at the drapes.
Dad patted his knee a second time, a bit more intently. Tyler took a seat.
"You see, son, the Phillies recently came out in support of Spirit Day, a made-up holiday for spreading awareness of bullying among LGBT kids. But it's wrong of the Phillies to want to keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender teenagers from getting beaten up. It's wrong because, um, it makes it sound like they are the only ones who get bullied, and while I support anti-bullying, I don't support it when it's just for one group. You see? So that's why we have to burn all our Phillies stuff and root for another team."
"Which team? Didn't they all post messages like that?"
"A-ha! Not the Rockies; America's last bastion of sanity. We're Rockies fans now. Which is fine, because I love Stallone. Now, who is any of their players?"
Tyler watched the letters wither and melt away on his Ryan Howard shirsey. "B... but why are we burning our clothes."
"Well, I just told you, son. The world is a complicated place, isn't it? Don't worry, when you're older, this will all make sense!"
"No I mean, why are we burning our clothes because... are the Phillies going to know we're doing this? Also, just because they don't want LGBT teens to get bullied doesn't mean they support bullying of other people. There's a distinct increase in bullying among LGBT teens anyway; they're the most victimized group of bullying."
Dad considered this, and decided to come at it from an angle in which it could be wrong. "I got bullied a lot as a kid," Dad re-explained. "And it toughened me up. Made me the man I am today. Kids today are too soft. Think about it. Have I ever gotten upset about something in such a drastic fashion that it seemed to be more of a symptom of a deeper issue?"
"But you do get angry, remember? Last week Yasiel Puig clapped on third base and you broke the cat in half. "
"Nobody respects the game anymore!!"
"Uh huh. And remember that time I came downstairs and you were burning a pile of clothes?"
"Son, it doesn't sound like I'm getting through to you. The Phillies shouldn't get involved in politics. They need to just stick to baseball. I explained all of this quite thoroughly on Facebook a few days ago. Aren't you on Facebook? It's the hot new thing adults are getting into."
"I'm nine, dad; I've been on Facebook for years." Tyler took a deep breath and tried again. "As massive social influences though, don't you think it's on organizations like the Phillies - and all other teams - to try and use that influence to spread positive messages?"
"I've got a positive message for you - I'm positive being gay is a choice!" Dad said with a grin.
Tyler face palmed and shook his head as the curtains caught fire and blazed merrily around the window. He raced into the kitchen and put them out with a fire extinguisher.
"Look, dad," Tyler said, breathing quickly due to the near-death experience brought on by his father's stupidity. "Let's call a duck a duck. Gay people make you uncomfortable and scared, and being uncomfortable and scared makes you angry. So LGBT people make you angry. Which you think makes they are bad. And you were raised in an ignorant enough culture that you've found like-minded human garbage to help fuel your flawed rationale."
Dad had that lost look on his face; the look seemed to indicate he was trapped under something heavy when he was really just wrestling with a rational thought.
"But, the Bible says-"
Tyler was already shaking his head by the time his father met his gaze.
"The Bible has nothing to do with the Phillies as an organization. None of their moves to this point have been dictated by it and none will be in the future, either. If you thought that, then, well... you're very, very wrong."
"Normally, I'd agree with you," Dad replied. "But these are my thoughts, so they can't be wrong."
"Mmmm," Tyler replied. "Mmm."