America Needs Baseball Now More Than Ever

By: Mike Carter

america's pastimeI don’t ever recall a time in my life where our country has been so divided for such a multitude of reasons.

One doesn’t have to look very far to see the division. A bitter election season and a constant stream of bipartisan politics have left people grasping for answers. The Russians are tampering with our system of government and with that, tampered with our faith in our brand of government. We have elected a new president whose thumbs twitter out his latest musings, while we all wait to see what he will say and do next.  It is unknown how this will all work out over the course of time. Democrats and Republicans seek to defend their parties rather than do what is best for our citizens. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act without replacement legislation is a very real possibility. A country founded on principles of letting in the tired and weak looking for a new life now considers building tangible walls. We have become more fearful, anxious and angry as the process continues to unfold in front of our very eyes on a daily basis. Citizens are walking into nightclubs and airports and shooting their own people. It’s a disturbing time and world we live in, friends. And you don’t need me to remind you of it.

We need something to restore our faith in humanity in this ephemeral winter. Something that will unite us and bridge the significant gaps and chasms in our current world. And for those of you reading this, that thing is baseball.

Last year I wrote about how hope springs eternally for those of us who follow this great American game (For The Love of Spring Training). No matter what happens through winter, every year we look forward to the coming spring. Watching a baseball game through active lenses requires intense scrutiny and thinking that distracts us from the negativity around us. For three hours at a time, you can let go of the world and focus on this beautiful game. Did you ever notice how true baseball fans don’t just have the game on in the background while doing household duties? No, there is a close watching that happens, and it matters little how good your team is, or is not. For on any given day, the worst team can beat the best team, and do it handily.  You just never know what is going to happen, even if advanced statistics bear it out. Little things make a huge difference. And in these uncertain times we live in, early in 2017 in a viscerally broken America, we need something to give us comfort, passion, something to look forward to, something to distract us from reality.

Watch a game this weekend!

Baseball is and always will be America’s pastime.

Go back to World War II. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was asked if major league baseball should cease operating while world politics and war were the active stage. He declined, stating that he felt it was best for the country to have the distraction and amusement of baseball while a terrible war was being fought thousands of miles away. It survived its own self-induced scandals as well, including racism, gambling and poor management through the so-called Steroid Era. Baseball allowed us all to rebound after 9/11. We are a people that are deeply divided and concerned about the direction of the next few years. Baseball is our great, shared American pastime. It rises through the ashes time and time again; it cannot be destroyed although there have been various attempts to do that. That is similar to this great country we all share.

Let’s engage in some positive discussion around here. Let’s sit down with a coffee or a beer and talk about our teams. Let’s sit down and debate who the best player in the game is. You’ll say Mike Trout, and you won’t be wrong; I’ll say Jose Altuve and make you cringe with why I think that. Let’s talk about which teams are best positioned for a deep playoff run. You’ll say the Cubs, and I’ll agree, but I’ll remind you of the difficulty in repeating in this game. And while we do that, we’ll be encouraged to forget about our daily troubles, if only for a little while.

We are a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. Get excited about it. Show your passion and give yourself some time to ponder something other than the cold reality facing us each day. I am going to start dusting off my White Sox hats and hoping for a good pull of prospects for Jose Quintana…