The Paw Print
Once again readers must suffer through another tale of my sports fascination.
Yet, this time, I think there are many Americans, not just Denver Broncos fans, who might agree with me on this matter. The national pastime returned to some today and returns to the rest of us tomorrow. Yes, baseball season is back.
Football, not baseball, has become the national sport, but baseball’s nostalgia far supersedes that of football. Baseball is summertime, peanuts, and trading cards. It’s dad taking you to the ballpark and so much more. It’s scoring a game and following the statistics. It’s a tradition that is rooted in the veins of America.
The only sports event that rivals the Super Bowl in the United States is Opening Day. Major League Baseball’s first games are celebrated across the country, and rightfully so. Most of us have spent the previous four or five months in the dark, frigid cold capture of the winter months. The coming of the baseball season signals sunshine and warmth.
But baseball is much more than just the changing weather; it’s an American tradition unlike any other sport or pastime in our country.
Baseball began in the late 1800s, well before basketball or football were even twinkles in their creators’ eyes. The sport quickly became popular and became sexy with the emergence of the legendary Babe Ruth. After Ruth, the sport grew hastily and became the nation’s most popular sport well into the late 20th century.
During those years of Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx and others, baseball began to form a sacred connection with the country. In 1929, the stock market crashed. The country had little to smile about. Still, the ballgame persevered. Ruth was still hitting the ball over the fence at rate that nobody had ever seen before. Different cities began to take special pride in their clubs because that’s all there was to be prideful about.
The old baseball tune “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” arose during this time, and Crackerjacks came into existence. Dads everywhere began playing catch with their kids – teaching them how to throw the ol’ curveball.
Interest was heightened during and after WWII. Baseball stars left to fight for our country. People like Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and other megastars left the game they loved for a more important cause. The first women’s professional league came into existence and faded when the men came home, but that only helped baseball’s lore. It truly became the sport of our nation, a sport that helped a country through hard times.
Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson ushered in a new era of baseball and continued to keep the game revered. It was because of these players, and the ones before them whose names are synonymous with baseball that the sport became our national pastime. It’s because of these players that this football nation still loves and respects the game of baseball.
Baseball may not be the most popular sport like it once was, but it has more than popularity. Baseball is tradition and is reverent in many, many respects. Today, when the ballplayers take the field, it’s a tradition that is carried on. Little kids learning to play catch everywhere will be watching.
After all, when we think of dad playing catch, it’s a not a football he’s throwing, it’s a baseball.