Baseball is known as America’s pastime but until recently I never really understood why. I used to enjoy going to watch my high school team play a game or two, but that was more of a social gathering. My friends and I talked through the game. I wasn’t focused on what was going on and was known to say that watching baseball on tv was boring. I tried playing softball one season and it was just not my thing. I was too afraid to swing the bat (on a JV softball team that led to me making it on base more often than not because of the amount of walks that happen during a game). I have always loved watching movies about baseball like Field of Dreams, The Sandlot and my particular favorite A League of Their Own. I didn’t watch them for the baseball, I watched them for the history and good stories. As you know from my earlier post History: The Story of Humanity I love history. But I realize now that part of the reason I love those movies is the passion for the game demonstrated. That passion is the reason that the ups and downs of a game resonates with so many Americans.
Last year I was introduced to the College World Series (sadly, my Beavers didn’t make it far this year, despite going in as the #1 team) and went to my first Major League game. It didn’t take much for me to get hooked. I learned about ERAs, batting averages, the significance of where a player is in a batting order, what a sacrifice bunt is…the list could go on and on. The best part is that anything can happen on any pitch. In a year I have learned a lot, but I am nowhere near an expert of the game and I do not know years of baseball history. I still need to learn how to score a game and train my eye to notice all the slight differences of each pitch. I need to study up on the baseball greats and learn how to be a real Major League fan (that is a lot of games to keep up with, and it seems like there is someone new on the team every time I go to the game).
After being a baseball fan for a year now, one thing I have come to understand is that I love baseball because it is so American. I finally get why it is America’s pastime. The game takes a lot of thinking, a balance of quick reactions and careful planning, and heart. Many entrepreneurs in America exhibit these same qualities. Going to the ballpark and having a hot dog with your choice of toppings (mustard and onions please!) is pretty American. Let’s be honest, the food choices are endless when you visit a major league game. Choice is the name of the American game. Baseball players from all over the world dream of coming to America, the land of opportunity. History has been made on the field that has allowed our society to go in a different, better direction (Jackie Robinson ring a bell?) Most importantly, each game celebrates America. Every game begins with the singing of the National Anthem. There is nothing like listening to thousands of people singing a song we all know that carries so much meaning for our country. At Chase Field (Go Dbacks!) each game they honor veterans and give everyone a chance to clap for them. It’s nice to give them a round of applause even though that will never be enough to show our gratitude for their sacrifice. Then in the seventh inning stretch we all stand sing God Bless America and the traditional Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Watching three-year old kids sing the same song as 80-year-old baseball lovers is like nothing else. An appreciation of a good ballgame spans generations and team loyalties. People of all walks come together for the love of the game. What is more American than that?
Today I had the opportunity to visit Chase Field to watch the Diamondbacks finish a series with the Giants. I won the tickets in a contest and was so excited to be going to my third game of the season. The Diamondbacks lost, but I still had a blast. Seeing all the smiling faces, hearing all the fans cheering, clapping for the veterans, singing with thousands of other Americans, eating (part) of a gigantic cheese and bacon stuffed corn dog, watching the Dbacks try to rally, but getting their bats going a little too late in the game and spending time with people I love; what more could a girl ask for?
I appreciate baseball for the passion, the history and the American culture. I am proud to say I now like to watch baseball on tv. I will always be happy at the ballpark. So take me out to the ballgame!
Do you enjoy baseball? American League or National League? Do you agree that baseball showcases some of the best things about America?