The Fourth Of July And Baseball At One Time Was A Big Deal

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Baseball is just another sport now.

It is America’s 247th birthday and there is a big question about America’s Pastime. Are MLB owners intentionally trying to destroy their business by possibly moving a team or relocating minor league teams? Baseball is doing fine financially but it doesn’t seem baseball is significant anymore. At one time, The Fourth of July was baseball, apple pie, swimming and fireworks. Baseball was, Casey At The Bat, or Take Me Out to the Ballgame, as Katie Casey told her boyfriend I want to go to the ball game in the song. There was the Babe and the great DiMaggio who was lionized in the Old Man and the Sea classic book by Hemingway and Who’s on First. Joe DiMaggio would be revisited in song in Paul Simon’s classic Mrs. Robinson. Baseball players were in vaudeville, burlesque, in movies, and on radio and TV. In 1954, the French social commentator Jacques Barzun noted. “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.”

There was a countdown to spring training and for certain Americans that was also the countdown to spring and the coming of warm weather. There was the Fall Classic and the Hot Stove League. Opening Day was an event and it was the boys of summer. Baseball was omnipresent. Now sports seasons clash. Opening Day takes a back seat to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the NFL Draft, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals all competitors and NFL July training camps. Yes, there was horse racing, summer golf and tennis tournaments but baseball until the 1960s was always at the top followed by boxing and horse racing. Meanwhile, Barzun rejected baseball by 2008, because it was over commercialized.

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