Baseball - Reviving The Game

By: Jim Brown

Western culture generally relishes in being positive. Our colloquial lexicon is full of statements about turning anything sad into something joyous. Whether we are advised to make lemonade out of the lemons that life would hand us or to simply turn our frown upside down, taking the aspects of something and making them work for you is part of our hopeful expectation.

Major-league baseball should take account of this ability we have, to take the things that seem most concerning and turn them into our best aggregate features as baseball is being challenged as our national pastime by everything from soccer to NASCAR.

It's slow

In a society the runs at a high place all the time baseball seems to be almost archaic in the time it takes to play the game and the pace at which the game unfolds. When competing against forces like stock-car racing, which can go at 180 mph, or the fast-paced back-and-forth of professional basketball, it seems to lag behind. Baseball is to sports what tai chi is to martial arts: the graceful and beautiful practice of old men. Turning this around would mean helping fans see the beauty and wonder that happens on the field. Yes, it is slow, but allows you time to talk with your friends, to relax and give you a respite from near 90 mph workaday pace. Baseball is a sport you can sit back and enjoy, keep score with and unwind.

It's simple

In a world consumed by electronics gadgets and powerful plans, baseball seems to be a very simple game. Kids play it all the time. All the team has to work with is a bat, a ball or glove and their body. Anybody who knows anything about baseball realizes that nothing is as easy as appears. The ball can come at you at 90 miles per hour. The bat can shatter, misdirect or simply fly out of your hand. The ball flies at angles that require calculation and perception for the catch. The running is an art and stealing is a science. By accentuating the elegance and skill required for the game a new respect can be born.

It's scandalized

Unless you're a diehard fan who follows every game with a statistic card in hand, and knows every player's number, you heard a lot more about baseball scandals, than baseball homers. The current scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs and steroid use in Major League Baseball has collapsed the wholesome and beautiful image of baseball, hotdogs and apple pie that we have long carried into our national treasure.

Coupled with the drug scandal are scandals about the cost of salaries, gambling, unfair trading and poor behavior on and off the field. To turn this around baseball needs to clean up its act. Create requirements for professional behavior on and off the field for players and enforce stiff penalties for those who would break them. Be open about the problems and create an efficient and transparent drug testing program to combat it.

Baseball is an iconic part of the American experience, mythic in proportion, beautiful and fun to watch. By turning their negatives into positive points, it will again rise to the top of America's leisure activities.

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