3.28.2008

BASEBALL IS AMERICA

"I never feel more at home in America than at a ballgame." - Robert Frost

Here here, RF. I maintain that an evening spent at an outdoor ballpark is as American as it gets: you get to sing the Star Spangled Banner and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"; there's red, white, and blue bunting everywhere; and you even pass money and beer/dogs back and forth without worry (the last universal American courtesy left). Plus you get to watch America's pastime played out under the stars. What could be better?

Hence the National Constitution Center's title for its temporary exhibit of items from the Baseball Hall of Fame - "Baseball as America." It was featured in today's Inky ("Stars, Stripes, and Pinstripes"), and as luck would have it, I was near the museum with an hour to kill between meetings.

So I plunked down the 15 bucks and treated myself to my childhood love. I got downright misty-eyed when I heard Lou Gehrig's famous "luckiest man alive" speech or saw post-9/11 footage at various ballparks. I loved how the exhibit discussed baseball's intersection with various topics that help define America, like diversity, enterprise, advertising, and pop culture. And I loved this quote by author W.P. Kinsella: "Baseball at night is more like a church than a church." Amen, brother.

Many would say the sport has been tarnished a bit, to say the least, with all the steroid scandals. Admittedly, some of my innocence is lost, in that regard. But the game still has the ability to evoke a sense of national pride, childhood allegiance, and just plain goosebumps. For better or worse (and there have been some notable examples of both), baseball mirrors America; you might say baseball is America. So to my country and my childhood love: here's to a great 2008!
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