What Is Baseball’s Influence on American Culture?
Each of us knows the USA as a country with a huge number of national customs and traditions, including related to sports ones. Many of them have their roots deep in history, got over many changes and were influenced by different factors and aspects, so they become those that the whole world has become accustomed to witnessing. One of them – baseball – can rightfully be considered as American national symbol. Quite often, while watching American movies or reading books, we can observe Americans love and cherish this sport, support it and develop it in every possible way. Why did baseball become the property of the USA and how did it influence American culture?
The USA is the most multinational country in the world. Therefore many native traditions are intertwined with the customs of other nations. Thus, modern baseball has its roots elements of cricket, rounders and other similar games. The considered date of birth of baseball is June 19, 1846, when Alexander Cartwright, a New York citizen, and his friends came up with the rules of the game and held the first match. Over the following years, baseball began to gain popularity – adults and children all over the country played with a ball and a bit and this sport took up most of the military’s free time in the 60s during the Civil War. The influence of baseball of the nineteenth century was characterized as “The very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming the nineteenth century!” (Twain)
In a way, it can be argued that baseball, with its heat of passion and style, symbolizes the entire American people and simultaneously influences both favorably, but grows mercantile qualities, but let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of these phenomena. First, any sport is helpful for each person and the excitement Americans have to this game helps them not to forget about physical activities altogether. Almost every American family has an element of baseball equipment at home: a ball, a bit or a form, and in every tenth family, at least one family member attends classes or practices baseball regularly. Against the background of the problems of Americans with overweight and lack of activity, such statistics look positive. By the way, the connection between a real American and baseball was described as “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules, and the reality of the game” (Barzun 32). Secondly, unfortunately, baseball becomes quite profitable as a business. A significant push for its development on the territory of the country was given precisely by people’s desire for profit: 25 years after the first ever played baseball game, a professional team appeared in the USA, whose members got money for the games, which gave them an additional motivation to win.
And the result didn’t take a long time to wait! “The Cincinnati Red Pants” team gave out an unprecedented winning streak and, accordingly, brought real income to its owners. According to the chain reaction, new professional teams began to appear all over the country, and then even a whole league. All in all the baseball business began to thrive. It’s a known fact (or a stereotype) that Americans are people who love and know how to have fun and also earn money on it. Each of us knows the world-famous city of Las Vegas, which thanks to its entertainment brings an enormous amount of money to Nevada’s and America’s budgets. Comparing the facts, it becomes evident that the development of baseball influenced whole generations of Americans, veiled teach them to earn on the show. Thirdly, aspects such as entertainment, wrestling, passion, and team spirit have all influenced the famous American spirit. It is an abstract concept that doesn’t have a precise explanation, but each of us knows that a real American (again, maybe it’s a stereotype?) is proud, independent, fights for his/her future and will do everything to achieve his/her goal. This characteristic is closely related to the typical American team sports (soccer, basketball, baseball), isn’t it?
The influence of baseball on American culture cannot be estimated more or less accurately. Each of us is associating this sport with the United States because every American protects and respects the traditions of his/her people. Having existed for more than 150 years, it continues to retain the typical American character, having a parallel with the baseball fans – strong, independent, struggle for victory and a craved for entertainment. It was such both good and bad influence that this sport had on the last generations of Americans, but much more important is how it will affect the future ones, cause one thing is clear: Americans will never forget this sport.
Barzan, Jaques. God’s Country and Mine. Atlantic Monthly Press Book Little, Brown and
Twain, Mark. “The Grand Tour -1. The Sandwich Islands.” Baseball Dinner, 8 Apr. 1889, Delmonico’s, New York.
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