Baseball is Still America’s Pastime

Last night’s All Star Game had many highlights.  As someone who favors the National League it was great to see them beating up on the American League again, especially after the long drought of thirteen years without a win, including the one tie.  It’s now three in a row for the Nats.  Giving some meaning to the game adds to the fun of seeing the leagues best players, (winning league gets home field advantage in the World series).  But besides the score, baseball itself was on display.  The greatness of the game is not simply the playing of it.  It’s the families, the father’s and sons, mother’s and daughter’s, hot dogs, pretzels and Cracker Jacks.  Yes, all sports teams sell food, but the meaning is not the same.  The intangibles of baseball are things that only true fans would understand, like how often  leadoff walk leads to a run.  Or how often a fielder who makes a great defensive play leads off the next inning and hits a home run.  Non-fans complain about how slowly the game seems to move.  But they miss the point.  A great thing about the game is when you’re up at bat, you are the center of attention.  All eyes rest on one person.  The same can be said on defense.  The other great part, is at any given time, one HR can win the game despite how lopsided the rest of the game might have been.  In soccer, down by two goals with one minute to play, everyone knows the game is over.  As Yogi brilliantly phrased it, in baseball, “it ain’t over until it’s over”.  Carlton Fisk’s HR, Kirk Gibson’s HR and so many others are the dreams that everyone who ever picked up a bat can only imagine.  For years I have detested Chipper Jones, the Met killer.  He was involved in many Mets heart breaks.  But last night was about baseball.  He deserved the long ovation he received as a future Hall of Famer playing in his last All Star Game.  While he was bad or me and my team, he was great for the game.  Then there was RA Dickey pitching in the All Star Classic, when it looked like his career might be over.  Seeing Derek Jeter who’s Hall of Fame career is winding down with all of the new young kids like Mike Trout and Billy Butler, playing the game the way it should be played, was inspiring.  Watching Justin Verlander throw pitches near 100 mph is incredible.  While there are many out there who believe, actually hope, baseball’s time has come and gone, take note of this, the first half of the 2012 season has seen attendance close to 40,000,000.  Yes, baseball is alive and well and will continue to thrive as America’s Pastime long after we are no longer filling the seats.

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