America Through Baseball Essay Research Paper The

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America Through Baseball Essay, Research Paper The American Pastime “He who would know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball” (Voigt 3). Through the years baseball has not only been a leisure activity and source of entertainment, but a mirror of American culture and its society. Baseball has been looked upon by many as a source of rejuvenation in times of hardship. Baseball is commonly called “the pastime,” but most often the game feels and acts like an old friend (Cantaneo 4). In World War II many of the men dispatched to Pearl Harbor within weeks of the Japanese attack in 1941 brought along a baseball and a mitt, and each day at dusk played catch in front of their barracks. Nearly fifty years later a solider could remember how the soft Hawaiian

breeze reminded him of early spring at home and how throwing a baseball was great solace, with the American fleet smoldering in the harbor (Cantaneo 5). Baseball is not just a game, but an institution that has changed along with the American people. Baseball has not only given Americans something to play and enjoy, but also something they can depend on and associate with. This concept is illustrated in Phil Alden Robinson’s movie Field of Dreams through James Earl Jones’ speech: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway and not even know why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children longing for the past. We won’t mind if you look around you say, its only $20 per

person, they’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. It is money they have and peace they like. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers, sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll have reserved seats along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it will be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, it’s a part of our past Ray. It reminds us of

all that was once good, and could be again. Ohh, people will come Ray, people will most definitely come!” Baseball gives one a sense of youth and comfort that can be relived through baseball’s ever-changing ways. It is one constant that’s been experienced generation after generation. The game has not only become the most popular in our country, it mirrors our society: Baseball is peculiarly American in its temperament and psychology ….It is our national game not alone because of history and development but by nature and characteristics as well. The game “fits” Americans; it pleases, satisfies, represents us (Guttmann 96). Baseball is a nineteenth-century field sport evolving out of children’s bat and ball games. It first appeared as an exclusive team sport for urban

gentlemen in Massachusetts. The popularity of baseball grew immensely during the 1870’s, and with this growing interest in the game, new baseball teams sprung up everywhere. People started paying to see games, opening the door to commercialism. At the same time intense competition led to the paying of good players so that the sport quickly evolved into a commercialized spectacle. The decade of the 1870’s also saw the rise of baseball journalism. This was so that people could keep track of their favorite stars. The average price being paid to ballplayer at this was twenty dollars a week and has increased rapidly through the years; today Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants is making $7 million a year. The paying o good players led to labor disputes, as occurs in many other