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Baseball, a Certain Idea of America

With the return of sweetness, the month of April announces in the United States the return of baseball. A cultural and sporting event in each of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB).

A very special, intimate relationship binds Americans to baseball. They became more passionate about football, were much more likely to play basketball, but baseball remained their favorite pastime. This curiosity is partly due to the many statistics surrounding baseball that have made it a historic sport. In the United States, everyone remembers the sports heroes of their childhood, and very often they are baseball players like the legendary Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees or Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves.

Throughout his life, baseball is there as a presence. We remember the broadcasts of the Great Classics marked by the voices of legendary commentators like Vin Scully in Los Angeles, Joe Garagiola in New York and Harry Caray in Chicago. A game can last up to three hours, an eternity to watch on television, which today pushes the leaders of the league to find ways to reduce the length of games. But in “live” in these mythical stadiums, it is a product that is consumed superbly with friends, family, and without too much stress.

The Experience of the Stadium

The match at the stadium is a true form of relaxation and unique entertainment for the fans. We follow the game, we talk, we walk all over the stadium, we stop to eat, and we go back to the game. It is a very special experience to the American culture, an initiatory rite populated by the famous hot dogs, cold beer, pretzels (as in this episode of The Simpsons) and hot pizzas. Supporters are also overly loyal to their sport and record each statistic after each throw on a scorecard. You can hear, like music, the sound of the wooden batting drums when they make contact with the balls thrown at 150 km/h, all those things that make it, spring or summer, to attend a baseball game is a wonderful experience. Of all the popular team sports in the United States, baseball is the least familiar to Europeans. Unlike basketball, which has deep roots in Europe, American football, which organizes several games each year in London, or hockey, which enjoys great popularity in the Scandinavian countries, in the Eastern countries and of course in Switzerland, baseball remains unrecognized in the Old Continent. Which is both surprising and not? The game is not particularly difficult to understand. One team takes possession of the field and defends, while the other team tries to hit the balls thrown, run around the bollards and score points. On the other hand, baseball requires a stadium with a unique configuration unlike a football stadium or an American football stadium, which are both roughly the same size. And these baseball stadiums just don’t exist in Europe.

Matches Every Day

A Sport dating back to the 1850s and immensely popular in Asia, particularly Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and China, baseball is also omnipresent in Latin America in smaller countries such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, where young children practice “Beisbol” and all dream of one day reaching Major League Baseball (MLB). Nearly 25% of MLB players are from Latin America. They can earn high wages and improve the lives of their families. The top players make between $ 25 million and $ 30 million a season.

This spring, the leaders of the MLB organized the World Baseball Classic, a kind of World baseball Championship that perfectly demonstrates the geographical influence of this typically American sport. But the “World Series” is the final series of the MLB. It comes in October at the end of a very long season: 162 matches, not counting the play-off. This high number is because the matches are played daily and that the game is much less physical than the other American team sports.

This ubiquity of baseball for six months contributed to the popularity of clubs that became legendary. The Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, World Series winners this fall after a record 108-year famine or the Los Angeles Dodgers are names known around the world. As for the famous New York Yankees, 27 times titled Of The World Series, their logo “NY” with the “N” and the “Y” superimposed, is so recognized that it symbolizes the city and even the United States around the world. Very few people know he represents a baseball club.

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