Baseball has long been known as “America’s Pastime.” In the old days you had to go to the ball park to see your favorite team play. Today you can watch just about every game played on TV or listen to a game on the radio. With the emergence and popularity of football baseball does not have the dominance it used to have. But there are some elements of baseball that other sports will never possess.
America flourished under baseball. Generations of Americans grew up playing baseball. Young people learned about what being a good sport and being a “team player” actually means. Fans at the ballpark celebrated America’s successes such as being the first country to send men to the moon and mourned our losses like 9-11 together.
Great traditions. Seriously is there anything better than a hot dog, peanuts and cracker jacks? Or hearing the national anthem at the beginning of each game or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch?
Dedicated fans. Chicago Cubs fans, need we say more? The Chicago Cubs ended a championship drought that had lasted 108 years, beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. They did it the hard way, too, coming back from a 3-1 game deficit by winning three straight games, including the last two on the road in Cleveland. And it took 10 innings to win it all in Game 7.
The Home Run. The sounds created by a baseball homerun cannot be duplicated in any other sport: the crack of the bat hitting the ball, the wild enthusiasm of the home town announcer, and the cheering of the fans.
Larger than life personalities. The players, the myths, the legends, and the Hall of Famers, all larger than life: Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, all of them who didn’t seem human. Great announcers like Harry Carey (“Holy Cow”), Dizzy Dean (“Jiltin Joe”), and Bill King (“Holy Toledo”).
“Take me out to the ballgame.” In 1858 baseball’s song was “The Base Ball Polka.” Thankfully Jack Norworth wrote the 1908 classic, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” which was written on a scrap of paper on a train ride to a baseball game. The song was quickly adopted by the Chicago Cubs and proudly belted out during the 7th inning stretch.
Things change quickly. As Yogi said, “”Baseball is 90 % physical the other half is mental”.
While we could draw more than one “life lesson” to the game of baseball I’ll wrap up by suggesting that the next time you are looking for something to watch on TV, find a baseball game. Watch it for a few minutes and look for all the things that make baseball “America’s Pastime.”
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