OK I’m not crazy about baseball, I was a New York Giants fan when I was very young and when they left I just kept hating the Yankees without following the Mets. But when the World Series comes around I usually watch a few games. Well the 9th inning of the last game was a great example of why baseball with all its faults is still America’s game.
Jacques Barzun said “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game.”
Below is a longer excerpt from his book, what an amazing writer and what a story.
“Excerpt from: God’s Country and Mine By Jacques Barzun
People who care less for gentility manage things better. They don’t bother to leave the arid city but spend their surplus there on pastimes they can enjoy without feeling cramped. They follow boxing and wrestling, burlesque and vaudeville (when available), professional football and hockey. Above all, they thrill in unison with their fellow man the country over by watching baseball. The gods decree a heavyweight match only once in a while and a national election only every four years, but there is a World Series with every revolution of the earth around the sun. And in between, what varied pleasure long drawn out!
Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game – and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams. The big league games are too fast for the beginner and the newspapers don’t help. To read them with profit you have to know a language that comes easy only after philosophy has taught you to judge practice. Here is scholarship that takes effort on the part of the outsider, but it is so bred into the native that it never becomes a dreary round of technicalities. The wonderful purging of the passions that we all experienced in the fall of 51, the despair groaned out over the fate of the Dodgers, from whom the league pennant was snatched at the last minute, give us some idea of what Greek tragedy was like. Baseball is Greek in being national, heroic, and broken up in the rivalries of city-states. How sad that Europe knows nothing like it! Its Olympics generate anger, not unity, and its interstate politics follow no rules that a people can grasp. At least Americans understand baseball, the true realm of clear ideas.