Help me remember this baseball story I read/heard.
March 22, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an article or a radio story about baseball as a uniquely American sport.

I recall reading or hearing this essay/story a couple years ago about baseball and how unique it is as a professional sport, and how that "unique-ness" was emblematic of American culture.

I particularly remember a part of it talking about how each ballpark is set up differently and it's the only pro sport where the fields aren't identical. Also, that it's the only sport where you get rewarded for going out of bounds, like when you hit a home run.

I feel like there were some other things that were pointed out about why baseball is so drastically different from other sports.

I also could be making up the "unique to America" part, but I feel like it had something to do with that.

Does anybody else remember absorbing this particular piece of information?

posted by cusack to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could it have come from the Ken Burns documentary? If not it sounds like something Bob Costas might say.
posted by vito90 at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2010

Have you tried searching WorldCat? They have a really impressive catalog of articles, books, whathaveyou. A cursory search on "baseball & america & unique" showed some interesting results.
posted by wowbobwow at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2010

I feel like there were some other things that were pointed out about why baseball is so drastically different from other sports.

Help for your searches...

* Play starts and ends with the defense in control of the ball.
* Each game is theoretically endless.
* It's been played professionally for more than 100 years.
* But in that time, while the the 100 meter time has fallen dramatically, the basepaths are still 90 feet apart, and guys still get thrown out at first base at roughly the same rate they always have.
* You fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate and you're a hall-of-famer.
* The manager wears a uniform, because he's not allowed onto the field without one.
* The Latin root for the word paradise means an enclosed park or green.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:38 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That's a heck of an answer. Even if I can't find this specific article I'm looking for, it might send me out on a search for other baseball fun facts.

Maybe it was something I heard on NPR or something.
posted by cusack at 1:46 PM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: There was also a point made about how the field of play isn't a rectangle or a rigid box... I remember that now, too.
posted by cusack at 1:52 PM on March 22, 2010

George Carlin had a great routine about the differences between baseball and football that might be apropos here.
posted by DandyRandy at 2:09 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Might have been something from Robert Whiting, I've read a couple of his books and evidently he has appeared in lots of U.S. newspapers.
posted by vito90 at 2:27 PM on March 22, 2010

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