Three Cheers for Baseball

Paul Eidelberg

Like other kids growing up in Brooklyn who had some athletic talent, I day-dreamed about becoming a baseball player. As a “Yankee” fan who knew all the players, their hitting, pitching, and related statistics, what most impressed me was the sportsmanship and fair-mindedness of baseball, which was dramatically manifested when Jackie Robinson broke the “color barrier.”

Today it’s quite common to see Blacks, Orientals, Hispanics, along with Caucasians on the same team; and you can see their mutual respect and even affection. In this sport, as no doubt in others, there’s no such thing as “affirmative action.” Aristocracy reigns supreme. True, it’s an aristocracy of the body, not of the mind; but this too is to be appreciated in our democratic age. (Barak Obama may well be deemed an “affirmative action” president—but look at the result!)

What is perhaps most admirable about baseball is that it unites individual excellence and team spirit, and without the crushing violence of overweight football players and the absurd heights of basketball giants.

Also praiseworthy is the patriotism displayed when the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” is sung on the playing field. In this spirit something has been added to baseball since Hispanics entered this sport: hand gestures acknowledging gratitude to God. This would further justify calling baseball the National pastime; only let it not also remind us of the trivialization of religion. Nevertheless, recall how all the ballplayers wore an emblem of the American flag apropos of 9/11.

There’s something majestic about baseball. Perhaps more than other sports it preserves and even hallows the idea of Greatness. I saw this illustrated at Lou Gehrig’s final appearance at the Yankee Stadium, attended by a standing room only crowd along with New York dignitaries. More than a few had tears in their eyes. This makes baseball more than a sport. It represents a striving for excellence which no other creature shares with man, as the life of Lou Gehrig illustrates, who said “I will always be proud of being a Yankee.” That expression of pride should be enough to expose the superficiality of Darwinism, along with the self-abasement of President Obama’s apology for American greatness.

So three cheers for baseball. And pass the peanuts, popcorn, and crackerjacks!

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Paul Eidelbreg is a retired professor of political science and author of An American Political Scientist in Israel and The Beginning and End of American Exceptionalism: A Theo-Political Analysis.

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