Myke Olson
October 01, 2002
LCC 4400
Baseball (Week 7)

Three Strikes, You're Out

It's been called "America's Favorite Past-time" -- Baseball. Certainly everyone is familiar with the rules and with the game itself, since they were a young child. Our parents brought us to Baseball games and bought us peanuts and CrackerJacks, just like the song says. The experience is different for everyone, but what they all share in common is a familiarity with the game.

The game itself has changed over the years and almost seems like less of a game today than it did at one time. Boys and girls alike are brought up hitting a ball in their back yard or in a park with other kids their age. Not as much anymore, but kids would collect baseball cards of their favorite players and trade them with their friends or put them between the spokes of their bicycles. Players played baseball for the joy of it and to be famous in the eyes of kids around the country. Nowadays, baseball seems more amount money and skill and numbers (ERA's, batting averages, etc.) With all of the technology that CNN's various Internet properties have, the most complex is that of the sports feeds for CNN/SI. Every time a ball player scratches or hits or misses a ball, it is recorded into a big database and complex mathematical formulas are run against it.

Personally, the various strikes have hurt my interest in Baseball. The players now are more interested in their salaries (yet another number associated with baseball) than with playing the game. That's not what the "game" is about. Games are designed to be fun and to be a break from the everyday life of going to work and paying bills and such. Even spectator sports/games are supposed to be enjoyable as well. With Georgia Tech college football, I get really into're rooting on your school's team and involved in every play, watching all the players as well as what's going on in the sidelines and the scoreboard and the JumboTron. Baseball is a slower moving game, so there's plenty of time to think about how much you're upset at the players for striking or calculating all those different numbers. In general, college sports are more interesting than professional sports because of the different motivations. Instead of playing the game for money, college students are playing for their pure enjoyment of it (arguably they're getting free tuition, but they had to make the decision to come to college in the first place and play football). One of the other things that doesn't make baseball as popular for me is the frequency with which games are played. Instead of having one game every week, there are several, so it's easy to say "oh, I'll just go watch a game later this week or maybe next week."

Sutton-Smith discusses this issue as well in regards to the Olympics. In the early days, the games were played for the sake of being played...everyone was an amateur. It's easy to see how with a little more practicing by the players on each time, those amateurs could quickly turn in to professional players who train for the Olympics their whole lives and in fact represent the absolute best player of that sport for that particular country. In games like Baseball and American Football, players are also chosen for their skills and there is fierce competition between different school's or different city's teams. Sutton-Smith, paraphrasing Young, 1984 would argue tha this is not much different than when it was in the beginning, where "most played for glory and also for tangible rewards" (i.e. salary or free tuition).

In conclusion, Baseball is certainly a timeless game. Just as the song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", which is sung at every game, is a classic, the game itself is as well. Children across the country are exposed to it at a young age and even grandparents can still enjoy being spectators of the sport. While seemingly just a spectator sport, the fans also participate by rooting on "the home team", buying hot dogs and CrackerJacks, and memorizing player's statistics. In short, baseball is a timeless, classic game that everyone can appreciate.