Baseball: As Unique as America


We at Prager University understand that America’s
culture is as important to the nation’s health as American politics. And that sport is an
important cultural ingredient. So, consider the many reasons why baseball deserves to
be the national pastime–the game especially suited to our democracy. First, democracy celebrates ordinary people.
Of course baseball players have extraordinary talents. But most players resemble ordinary
people. As a wise baseball man once said: To play baseball, you do not need to be seven
feet tall or seven feet wide. And baseball, like America, has a strong independent
judiciary–the umpires. In fact, baseball is, in one regard, better than the rest of
America. In baseball, three strikes and you’re out –the most expensive Washington lawyers
and lobbyists can’t help you. And remember, racial integration came to baseball
in 1947, a year before integration came to the armed services. And eight years before
Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Today, baseball is a career open to talented
people from around the world. About 20 percent of major leaguers are from outside North America.
This is because in baseball the only race that matters is the race to the base. Baseball is a game of episodes–pitch by pitch,
out by out, inning by inning, game by game. Hence baseball generates an enormous, constantly
enriched sediment of numbers. And these numbers make baseball a game that embraces what a
free society requires–personal accountability. Every morning during the season, a player
will find in the box score a precise record of what he did the day before–his runs, hits,
outs, strike outs, errors. If he was thrown out trying to steal second base, the box score
will say so. If he failed to drive in teammates who were in scoring position, the box score
will announce this failure to the world. In no other sport–and no other profession–
is individual performance so unsparingly displayed and dissected. Imagine if–every day–America’s
lawyers and teachers and business people and journalists had to read in the morning’s paper
a box score measuring the caliber of their previous day’s work. A free society like America is a place where
people are free to strive–and hence are free to fail. There is a lot of failure in America–most
new business ventures fail–and baseball is a game of constant failure. A player who bats
.300 is a star–but a star who fails to get a hit 70 percent of the time. And the teams
that lose today must pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again tomorrow.
For six months. Which brings us to the number that is hardest for most fans to appreciate. It is not one of the famous numbers of individual
achievement. Not Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak in 1941. Not Ted Williams .406 batting
average, also in 1941. No, the hardest number to comprehend is 162. That is the number of
games each team plays–in about 185 days. Because baseball is the sport of the longest
season, it is the sport in which luck matters least. After 162 games, each team is its record–no
better, no worse. From the beginning of April to the end of October, the bad bounces and
lucky hits even out. Which means baseball is what America aspires to be–a real meritocracy. Baseball also is a good game for a democracy
because it teaches democratic lessons. It is a game of the half loaf. In baseball, as
in democracy, no one gets everything he wants. Essentially all 30 teams go to Spring Training
knowing they are going to win 60 games and lose 60 games. They play the long season to
sort out the other 42 games. And every team also knows this: If it wins only 10 out of
every 20 games, it is obviously mediocre. But if it wins 11 out of every 20, it will
win almost 90 games and have a good chance of playing in the post-season. Which is why
in baseball, as in the life of a competitive free society, little differences, ultimately,
make an enormous difference. Baseball also is, as America is, both about
individualism–and cooperation. The heart of the game is the one-on-one battle between
the batter and the pitcher. But baseball also requires teamwork–on offense, to move runners
another 90 feet –and on defense, to make 27 putouts. A wise man once said that there are really
just two seasons, baseball season–and the void. Happily, the void ends, and another
season is here. So take yourself out to a ball game and savor all the ways the national
pastime illustrates the nation’s values. And while you’re there, have a hot dog. That’s
American culture, too. I’m George Will for Prager University.

100 thoughts on “Baseball: As Unique as America

  1. Western Culture does'nt exist anymore and it's been non-existent for as long as America has been around (Jamestown circa 1607)

  2. Let the players do steroids !!!!!! It will be like cutting taxes on businesses, it will give them an extra boost.

  3. Hey, but baseball it's not even American !! It's just a copy of the ROMANIAN sport oina which was first mentioned in the 14'th century, when the name America didn't even existed. Now oina is the national sport of Romania.

  4. Baseball is a great sport choice for some, others choose something else.
    Now that is freedom, choosing what you want to do, instead of being told what's American. Also you don't need to have a hotdog if you don't want too, you can even use your freedom to have many.

  5. Cricket has all these things btw. It isn't all that unique and cricket was racially integrated years before just saying.

  6. I think all sports popularized in North America are good for Meritocracy, Like Hockey For instance, The referee like the Umpire in Baseball, says when you have a penalty and when a goal is allowed or disallowed, Like baseball it takes teamwork, offense and Defense, you have to pass the puck or else you will be checked, however there is individualism in Fine Goal-tending, good shooting and breakaways, when there is a 50/50 chance of a goal being scored, those odds can change on ability, of on the shooter and the Goal tender, if the Goalie is better skilled he is more likely to stop the puck, and if the shooter has better skill than the goalie, than the chance of him score increases, however, like baseball, sometimes people miss the net or their stick breaks as they fire the puck, like any business they sometimes fail, but unlike baseball the defencmen, are the backbone of the hockey team if they play a more risky offensive game, the more likely they will hang the goalie out to dry, like being a fielder, a Shortstop or a basemen, they have to take risks to make a good defensive play, or else your team loses. Now for the record, I am an American, I played Hockey, Baseball, and Football, I love all three sports equally however hockey like the real world, its fast paced, things change on a dime, baseball, as fun as it is to play it isn't my top sport to watch, it is like any good team sport, it mixes the elements of, Endurance, competition, teamwork, individualism, and if you make a mistake everyone on National TV sees, either live or on the news, or in the morning paper. All team sports that get success, are the best way to teach youth the basic values of life, we all have our part to play, some are bigger, others are smaller, some players value different stats than others do. All team sports demand merit and playing a long season usually traveling from town to town, means everyone works together, but some stars of the games shine brighter than their counterparts, yet sometimes they do not share the abilities of their counterparts but they all have a part to play.

  7. Baseball is in decline thanks to it's poor administration and the anti-fun culture of modern players. Changes need to be made before it's too late…

  8. Useless people made into heros for whacking a ball with a stick… Get a real job and do something useful. I have no respect for man-children who get paid millions to be spoiled brats playing a silly game.

  9. The only problem with this American game, is that it isn't American. It was invented in Romania in the 14th century, it is the traditional and national game of Romania and it was brought in USA by Romanian immigrants, and it's real name it's not Baseball, it's Oina.

  10. So many comments about how boring baseball is. Do Millennials not understand the concept of things not being a constant thrill? My mom always tells me about that.

  11. They also stand for the anthem because ownership would have their asses, and there's no salary cap so individual performance resulting in wins for the team forces the market to speak for itself and pay salaries almost exactly what they're worth. Baseball is still the highest paying sport per capita, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not arguing for higher pay in other sports, for the record. But baseball is a "the market speaks for itself" sport.

  12. Box score for their previous day's work? Sounds terrible! Now if you'll excuse me I have do study for school, report cards are coming home in a few weeks to display my previous half a year of performance.

  13. AND OUR HOUSTON ASTRO'S WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR! IT WAS A WONDERFUL EVENT AFTER HURRICANE HARVEY.

  14. "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:8)

  15. This video shows exactly why baseball is my favorite sport. It will always be America’s pastime. I love this.

  16. In baseball, you have to know when to hit, when not to hit, when to run, when not to run, what the pitcher's thinking about, what the hitter's thinking about, what the manager's thinking about, what the baseline coaches are thinking about, it's all about thinking-you would say baseball is a game for genuises-the thought process(if you put your mind to it)

  17. i knew baseball was my favorite sport for a reason (other than how fun it is and how hot buster posey is)

  18. except where he refrences the US as a democracy instead of the republic it is this guy sounded on point…….words matter bro

  19. I love baseball because every at bat, every game, is a new chance to succeed. You may have had a terrible game last night or all of last season. But that's the past. What counts is what you'll do right now. The reverse is true as well. You may have been the hero last time, but don't let your head get too big. You could be the dog this time. And don't forget your teammates. You can't win without them. In other words, baseball is a metaphor for life!

  20. I have loved baseball since I was a little boy and share that love with my wife and with our children. Some of my fondest memoris of my father and grandfather and uncle have do to do with going to games, going to the Hall of Fame and watching the World Series. I actually got to see a World Series game in person once in 1962. I had tickets for the 1971 WS but the game was rained out and since it was out of town and my father had business obligations I missed seeing it in person. But still it made 1971 a memorial WS.

  21. I only got into baseball to gamble…I ended up liking it. I have no team, I just have favorite players.

  22. This is the absolute best video I've ever seen of someone explaining the game as if he were explaining it to someone who knows nothing about it. I knew there was a reason baseball was always my favorite sport. This validates it

  23. Sorry George Will, you made a nice speech, but watching a bunch of goofy guys standing around spitting for 2-3 hours and getting paid 4 million $$ a year, is as thrilling as watching the grass grow.

  24. I had never been to a baseball game. I watched it on tv almost every week when my dad was alive. But when he passed I lost interest. I went to one recently and as they prepared for the national anthem this giant swarm of drunk loud people did something i thought wasnt possable it went silent. 100% like you could hear some people cough or something but no words. It made me smile because it showed me regardless of beliefs in this stadium we were all Americans and thats all that matters.

  25. The only thing I hate about Baseball, is how long they take! But still, who doesn't love the "American sport"?❤🇺🇸🇺🇸

  26. America isn't a democracy. I wish people would stop saying this. Read the federalist papers. Pay attention to the things Madison and Jefferson say about democracies. They took great care to keep it out of our republic. Democracy is not mentioned one single time in the constitution or the bill of rights and is ONLY mentioned in the federalist papers when the fathers were warning against it.

  27. 2:15 wow… that would suck for them… at my current job, our supervisor sends out a daily internal email with team stats; where each person stands on our team, and where our team stands in relation to other teams at our site.

  28. Taiwan likes baseball too, but why 9innins ,that's too long,not to mention it has to be won by either team to end the game,no draw?

  29. Why did they really pick baseball over football and basketball? Football and basketball were both created in America. If you say "football" anywhere else you're talking about soccer. (I'm not including hockey, it wasn't invented in America.) Football and basketball both have referees. Records are kept for both of those sports. There is individualism and cooperation in both sports. Could it be that pro baseball players are majority White but pro football and basketball players are majority Black? Nah…

  30. In the NBA, it is predictable who is gonna make the playoffs and it’s usually the warriors, in the NFL, it’s virtually always the Patriots in the Super Bowl. In the MLB, there’s a surprise every year and a new champion every season which is why it is the greatest sport. Not really the point of the vid

  31. “The cure for racism is baseball.” – Wayne Franklin, my pitching coach and a former Major League Baseball player

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