Baseball and American Popular Culture
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itself into the business of professional baseball, namely major league baseball.
apart of our culture since the mid to late nineteenth century(Wallup, p16). Our great
grandparents, grandparents, and parents have been brought up with it and our parents
teach the sport to us.
When the notion of baseball comes to mind, a feeling of nostalgia and tradition come to
We walked up the concrete walkway inside the stadium. The concrete walls and floors
made my surroundings drab and grey. Finally, we made it to entrance into the stadium.
I came out of the dark tunnels into the bright sunlight. The first thing to catch my eye
grass I had seen. The outfield seemed to be so perfect. It appeared that each blade
had been cut by hand. The edge of the infield, where the dark, watered-down dirt met
the intensely green grass was a precise and well-defined contrast. We sat down and I
took in my surroundings. There were men walking up and down the stairs selling various
tempting treats. The players soon finished their warm-ups and the crowd became
frenzied with excitement. The game was about to start.
hype up the game, making the cheering crowd an active part of the contest. This
enthusiasm leads to cheers when their team turns a great play or to boos and catcalls
due to an umpire’s bad judgement.
It hard to describe why Americans likes to watch baseball. For me, it has to do with the
excitement and appreciation of the game. Since I was big enough to hold a baseball, I
have been playing the game. I appreciate it because I have played it and I have
experienced the struggle between pitcher and batter. Neither one hates the other, but
involved that makes watching the game enjoyable to me.
It has become a tradition to go watch a game with the family. Rooted in this custom
According to A.G. Spalding, author of America’s National Game, baseball “is the
…Spirit, …Vim, Vigor, and Virility”(Spalding, p.4). We see the game of baseball as an
activity for family to go to the local ball park to see a son, daughter, nephew, or niece
Baseball gives us reason to get our friends together and have fun.
Professional baseball has become an institution that reflects shifting values in American
leagues. Nineteen ninety-seven marked the fiftieth anniversary of the first black
baseball player, Jackie Robinson, permitted to play in major league baseball. He
realm of professional baseball.
he admitted to the bad decision saying, “I do not consider my decision to back Richard
sincere one, however, at the time.”(Lester, p2) In 1964, he organized and founded the
to be one of his deputy national directors. He accepted and was later named to the
Executive Committee as Special Assistant to Community Affairs. “He had many firsts in
arena”(Lester, p.3). In his book, Never Had It Made he recapped his life, “As long as I
appeared to ignore insult and injury, I was a martyred hero to a lot of people who
seemed to have sympathy for the underdog”(Lester, p.2).
Many important people have lived past their professional baseball careers, continuing in
Kruk endorsing Pert Plus shampoo, they all have found ways to reach out to American
great deal of influence on the public because of their popularity.
This influence has led to many acts and movies. The first performance that comes to
mind is Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First? routine(Abbott, p.1-5). Though it was
created during a different era than my own, it shows how long the game of baseball
have recently been made regarding the subject of baseball. Field of Dreams was a
Christopher Sharrett of USA Today, described it as a motion picture that “used baseball
as an image of a golden, half-remembered past” (Sharrett, p81). The farmer built a
when his farm was being foreclosed. The movie communicates throughout how the
American views of baseball as tradition and pastime are a vital part of American culture.
the underside of professional baseball(Sharrett, p81).
the American way of life. Baseball has the ability to be all of these things because of
the public’s fascination with the game. The game is a major ritual in our society. We
grow up with it, playing very young, and as we mature it teaches us about fairness and
values. When we grow up, we will pass it down to the next generation who in turn will
pass it to their children. Baseball found its way into our culture more than 125 years
ago (Wallop, p15) and will be played for 125 more.
Abbott and Costello. “Who’s on First.” (p. 1-5): 5. Online, Internet. 28 January 1997.
Lester, Barry. “Jackie Robinson Biography.” (p. 1-2): 2. On-line, Internet. 27 January
Sharrett, Christopher. “Baseball’s Fading Dreams.” USA Today May 1995: 81.
Spalding, A. G. America’s National Game. New York: American Sports Publishing
Company, 1911: p. 3-13.
Wallup, Douglas. Baseball: An Informal History. New York: Norton & Company, Inc.,
1969: p. 14 -15.