America’s Mirror (My Research Paper)

All of you guys have been so helpful in me shaping my research paper. I really appreciate all of the “free thought” that you guys were doing, it really helped me out. I took into consideration what all of you said– everything, and so yesterday, I went to my APUSH teacher and showed him the outline. I asked him if I could go into the 20th century a little so I could expand on how baseball mirrors the economy, and he said it was fine. I think all of your questions will be answered in the paper. It ended up being long– 5,000 words (which is longer than the 2,000-3,000 words that were suggested). I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all. The topic sentences pretty much sum up what each paragraph is about so if you want to just choose one paragraph and read it, even that would be great. The greatest weakness right now (I think) is that the paragraphs are way too long, I’m working on that. But if you guys are interested in the whole paper, feel free to read the whole thing! Once again, constructive criticism welcomed. 


 During America’s Gilded Age, many new institutions emerged
that provided new spaces and liberties for the workers, immigrants, and the
middle class citizens who inhabited the crowded cities. However, very few institutions
have had the extraordinary longevity that what many consider to be, the
national pastime has had. Town ball, cricket, and base were three of many forms
of nascent baseball, but it wasn’t until the New York Knickerbockers crossed
the Hudson River to get to Elysian Fields on the Jersey shore, that baseball
was born. The Civil War halted baseball’s rapid evolution, and while the North
and South were fighting over slavery, states rights, and the government’s
rights, the one thing that they had in common was baseball. Its popularity was
revived during the Gilded Age and many of the events in baseball mirrored the
events that were going on in America. Although baseball provided many new
spaces and liberties to the players and spectators, it also reflected the age-old
tensions and traditions such as racism, the conflict between workers and
owners, the struggle between the individual and the collective group, and the
consequences of scandal and reform.

In 1607, a group of diverse
colonists crossed the Atlantic ocean to seek land, new opportunities, and
establish a nation, and in 1845, a group of eclectic men who called themselves
the New York Knickerbockers crossed the Hudson River seeking Elysian Fields, a
place to play their game of baseball, which not only created new opportunities,
but established what would become the national pastime as well. Before the
Civil War, there were many different variations of baseball, America was not
yet unified under one distinct national pastime. Similarly, America was nowhere
near unified as the North and South were nearing the Civil War. Despite this,
the New York Mercury called baseball “the national pastime” in 1856. It did
make some progress to becoming an American game before the Civil War. Melvin
Adelman argues that: “the wish to create a national game stemmed from a desire
upon the part of Americans to emancipate their games from foreign patterns”. The Spirit, one of the first newspapers
devoted to sporting events, called for a game “peculiar to the citizens of the
United States, one distinctive of the games of the British like cricket.”  An article in The New York Times called ‘National Sport and their Uses’ stated,
“To reproduce the tastes and habits of English sporting life in this country is
neither possible nor desirable”. Americans were able to separate themselves
from the British influences on their national pastime just like they were able
to separate themselves from British influences on their country in 1776. This
evolution of baseball started around 1856, when Henry Chadwick created box
scores and columns for the newspapers. Baseball became a common language for
Americans as Alexander Jay Cartwright spread the game westward. This evolution
was briefly halted during the Civil War, but as the North and South fought over
slavery, and states rights, baseball was the one unifier.

It was during America’s Gilded
Age that baseball flourished. 1869 was the first full year of professional
baseball, and the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional team,
although baseball already was an American passion. In 1871, the New York
Knickerbockers formed the first professional league, the National Association
of Baseball Players. It attempted to retain the innocence of baseball by
stating that baseball was strictly an amateur game, and that no one would ever
be paid, “Rule V: No players who play base-ball for money shall take part in
any match game; and any club giving any compensation to a player, or having, to
their knowledge, a player in their nine playing in a match for compensation,
shall be debarred from membership in the National Association.”  However, as America’s innocence slowly
began to dwindle away, baseball’s innocence did the same. In fact, Harry
Wright’s Red Stockings were the proof that baseball had become a new way for
men to earn a livelihood. Albert Goodwill Spalding did not mind the paying of
ball players:

The determination of the founders of Base Ball to
maintain it as an amateur pastime had been only partially successful from the
start. The perfectly natural desire of every club to strengthen its playing
corps found its earliest expression in the drafting, by senior clubs, from the
ranks of local junior teams the best players among them. This absolutely
legitimate practice was soon followed by that of inducing the best players in
clubs of small cities and villages to join those of larger cities, the
ostensible advantage being set forth as the increased opportunities of getting
on in life. It was, of course, but a very short step from this custom to that of
offering to understanding that salaries would be forthcoming… … It will readily
be seen that such a state of things could not long continue. The public lost
confidence in a game the results of whose contests depended upon the interests
of the gambling fraternity, or the presence of veiled professional players.
Having lost faith in their fellows, they began to lose hope in the future of
the pastime itself, and, one by one, conscientious players were dropping out”.

Spalding went on to form the National League of Professional
Ball Clubs in 1876 with his Chicago White Stockings. This was a giant step
towards establishing team owners’ authority over the game and players, which
were bound to cause conflicts. A president and other officials were hired to
establish some degree of uniformity throughout the League, and organized
baseball began to assume a structure, which continues to influence the game
today. In 1881, the American Association, otherwise known as the Beer and
Whiskey League was formed; it allowed Sunday games and the sale of alcoholic
beverages in the park. Although the National League and the American
Association sign a peace agreement in 1883, it succumbs in 1891 and Spalding’s
National League retains its monopoly. In 1901, Ban Johnson wanted to compete
against Spalding’s monopoly so he renamed his minor Western league, the
American League. His league was actually sustainable due to the scandals of
rowdyism and syndicate ownership that plagued the National League. Another
alliance was signed in 1903 between the two leagues, which declared that each
league would abide by each other’s contracts and rights to players–they were
separate but equal leagues. These two leagues have shaped baseball into what it
is today.

Baseball inspired city pride,
promoted new industry, expanded west, and was not only played in stadiums, it
was also played in prison yards, parks, playgrounds, and farmer fields as well.
The first baseball stadium was called Forbes Field, and it was not erected
until 1909 in Pittsburgh. However, the game was played elsewhere before hand,
yet still attracted many fans. The Polo Grounds was actually used for polo
initially. It was converted to a baseball stadium in 1880 for the New York
Giants, and was expanded, duplicated for other baseball teams, reconstructed,
and was the site for many historic events, including Babe Ruth’s first home run
as a Yankee on May 1, 1920. In 1903, Spalding’s American League and Johnson’s
National League played the first World Series at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds.
Even though it was not truly a stadium yet, it still attracted 16,452 fans,
including McGreevy’s Royal Rooters, who claimed to be Boston’s most loyal fans.
Jim Thorne said, “The idea of going to the ballpark, say in 1900 was that the
urban masses would get a taste of country pastoral air. That their lungs would
expand by cheering nonsense like this. Baseball grew in the cities. It is as
wild as the wild west”. Billy Crystal said, “There’s a very peaceful thing, it
was created and played in pastures and meadows. There’s grass, there’s
outdoors, there’s everything that people though was American and feel about
America. You get in a ballpark and it’s the wonder of holding you dad’s hand,
walking through that dark tunnel and seeing a huge open space where men play
the little boy’s game”. Between 1900-1910, country boys, immigrant sons, and
factory workers played on thousands of teams in hundreds of leagues; baseball
wasn’t just confined to professional teams. The spread of the railroad and
telegraph facilitated the spread of ideas and activities throughout the
country, and baseball was included in this. Baseball became democratic when it
became portable. Sam Crawford said, “Every little town out there on the prairie
had its own ball team and ball grounds and we challenged them all”. Many new
industries stemmed from baseball, and facilitated employment; brand names soon
appeared such as the Louisville Slugger. Albert Goodwill Spalding opened a
sporting goods business in which he was manufacturing all the baseballs used in
the National League, as well as bats and uniforms. By 1878, eight million bats
had been sold in the United States. Spalding even had a catalogue, which
devoted a lot of space to Eastern, Western, and International Leagues, and thus
helped to unify the baseball world. This not only provided new jobs, but it
established a monopoly that would soon threaten both the integrity and the
longevity of baseball. There became a growing demand for baseball reports from
both participants and non-participants led to expanded newspaper coverage, and Beadle’s Dime Baseball Player was the
first baseball book for fans. Both the National League and the American League
set up teams in growing crowded urban areas. Baseball evoked a sense of pride
in ones team, and therefore one’s city. Fans began to live and die with their
team. In Harold Ellard’s Baseball in
recalls a victory against the Mutuals of New York and calls it
“the best played game of ball on record”. He describes the passion of the fans
when he says, “When news of the victory reached Cincinnati the excitement was
beyond description. Salutes were fired, red lights burned and cheers were
deafening. Everybody felt in the finest spirits and many were willing to lend
their friends, even their enemies, any sum without questions”. Baseball was
seen as having the immense potential for a successful business ever since Harry
Wright established the first professional ball club. Overpriced bad food has
been sold at ballparks across the nation since 1850, but it wasn’t until Henry
M. Stevens turned concessions into an empire that it truly became part of the
game. He introduced baseball’s trademark food of hotdogs when ice cream sales
slowed on a cold day at New York’s polo grounds. Baseball continued to offer
new opportunities for success and enjoyment to virtually everyone, but baseball
was not immune to America’s segregation policies.

Baseball provided liberties and
opportunities for white players and fans regardless of their socioeconomic
classes, but restricted those liberties and opportunities from African
Americans just as they were restricted from opportunities in society.
Initially, baseball provided Americans with an outlet after work. The great
American transcendentalist Walt Whitman said, “Relieves us from being a
nervous, dyspeptic set… let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is
glorious”. Henry Longfellow said that “Ball playing communicated such an impost
to our limbs and joints that there is nothing now heard of in our leisure hours
but ball, ball, ball”. It allowed the players who played unprofessionally to
forget about the woes of their stressful workday and could indulge themselves
in their game. For professionals like Cap Anson, who soon became the symbol for
all that was strong and good in baseball and established the tradition of
Spring Training, said, “I had a distinctive dislike both for study and work and
I shirked them whenever the opportunity offered”. Ball players did not have to
be of a prominent socioeconomic background to play either. Cy Young, one of the
greatest pitchers of all time was a farm boy. Honus Wagner considered by many
to be the greatest shortstop of all time was a Pennsylvania miner, John Joseph
McGraw was a self-made man, Ty Cobb, one of the two men to ever attain 4,000
hits in his career grew up on a farm in Georgia. Daniel Okrent said, “The ball
players they were from the fringe of society. These were not educated men… the
kind of game that they played suited the kind of people that they were”. For
fans, baseball provided a different kind of opportunity. Baseball Magazine put it beautifully when they said, “Thomas
Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence made proper provision
for baseball when he declared that all men are and of a right ought to be free
and equal. That’s what they are at the ball game– banker and brick layer,
lawyer and common laborer”. This isn’t to say that baseball players were immune
from the vices that plagued society. Many of them suffered from addictions and
gambling problems as well; but it was Christy Matthewson, also known as the
‘Christian Gentlemen’ and considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time,
who helped to revive the reputation of a ball player. Baseball went from
uniting a country, to uniting men. In 1868 the Newark Advertiser stated, “People have baseball on the brain to an
extent hitherto unequaled”. Carl Sandberg said; “These are times when my head
seemed empty of everything but baseball names and figures. I had my opinions
about who was better than everyone else in the national game”. However, this
outlet was not extended to African Americans. Contrary to popular belief,
Jackie Robinson was not the first African American in professional baseball. It
was Moses Fleetwood Walker who played in professional baseball from 1884-1887,
and started out with the short-lived American Associations Toledo Blue
Stockings. The feet first slide that is used so often today was actually first
used during the period in which African Americans were allowed in professional
baseball because of the “deep seeded hatred for African Americans,” as Sporting Life puts it. Pitchers would
actually ignore signs from black catchers because they would not take orders
from a black man. A few years later, when Cap Banson declared that we would not
play against a team with a black pitcher, the National League made an
unofficial agreement to not sign any blacks–1887 marked the end of African
Americans in professional baseball until 1947. Sol White’s Official Baseball Guide speculates that had Cap Banson
not let his racist views blind him to the wonderful players in the African
American leagues, it would have truly changed the game. Freed blacks did form their own baseball leagues, and a few others
played professionally before the hushed agreement. Some leagues even played
exhibition games against professional players in the offseason as Sol White’s Official Guide to Base Ball points
out; “Seabreeze and Ormond are represented by white teams composed of American
and National League players, and the contests between the colored boys of Palm
Beach and the white boys from Ormond and Seabreeze are looked for yearly and
draw immense crowds. Of the four games played between the white and colored
teams last Winter, the white boys failed to win a game”. After his expulsion
from baseball, Walker urged African Americans to emigrate back to Africa; “They
could expect nothing but failure and disappintment in America” Walker said. Bud
Foulum put it best when he simply said, “My skin is against me”. Newk Hall was
appalled that social barriers were broken on the playing field, yet color
barriers were not when he said, “If anywhere in this world the social barriers
are broken it is on the ball field. There, many men of low birth and poor
breeding are the idols of the rich and cultured. The best man is he who plays
best. In view of these facts the objection to colored men is ridiculous. If
social distinctions are to be made, half the players in the country will be
shut out. Better make character and personal habits the test”. Racism was not
the only thing that baseball and America had in common.

The reason that baseball is
America’s national pastime is because it perfectly reflects the triumphs and
struggles of American history. The pace, rhythm, atmosphere, and competitive
spirit are quite similar to the pace, rhythm, atmosphere and competitive spirit
of America. Charley McDowell said, “[There are] labor unions and management,
gimmicks and promotion, pride and unity of town and country…” Walt Whitman
said, “It has the slap, go, fling of the American atmosphere. It is America’s
game”. The reason that the institution of baseball is America’s game is because
it precisely mirrors America, as Vogt’s American
points out; “The business structure of team ownership, the problem
of monopoly, player labor unrest, and many other issues that accompanied
professionalization mirrored the new economic order”. It evolved the same way
that America evolved. Albert Goodwill Spalding, the founder of the National
League, has been called “the Andrew Carnegie of baseball”. Spalding bought and
crushed out his competitors like other captains of industry. A few leagues
tried to challenge this monopoly, but the only successful one was Johnson’s
National League. Spalding said of his competitors, “The dog with the bull dog
tendencies will live the longest”. Baseball has always promoted capitalistic
competition, whether it is on the playing field, or in business. As Joe McGraw
simply put it, “The main idea is to win”. To Ty Cobb, baseball was more than a
struggle for supremacy, “it was something like a war”. Spalding, like other
captains of industry, was also unconcerned with the various attempts made at
player’s unions. He said, “The players league is deader than the proverbial
door nail. When the spring comes and the grass is green upon the last resting
place of anarchy, the national agreement will rise again in all its weight and
restore to America in all its purity its national pastime, the great game of
baseball”. When America saw that monopolies in industries were corrupt, they
promoted competition; in the same manner, when America saw the corruptions that
existed in Spalding’s National League, both the players and fans welcomed the
American League. These scandals included what was called “rowdyball”, syndicate
ownership, and gambling. Rowdyball included flying spikes, vicious verbal
abuse, and cheating. Bobby Wallace of the Baltimore Orioles recalls, “The
bricks, rocks and chunks of hard slag came through those windows as if shot
from a Gatling gun.” Henry Chadwick recalls an incident in Syracuse, New York:

         “The baseball season
closed here to-day with a disgraceful scene on the diamond. In the sixth inning
when the score was tied, Harper got caught between the bases, and by the
dirtiest trick ever witnessed in this city he reached second. Harper
deliberately jumped on Moss, who had the ball ready to touch him, and he spiked
the Stars’ shortstop so hard in the breast that his shirt front was torn almost
into ribbons. Moss struck Harper with his first, and a rough-and-tumble fight
would have ensued but for police interference”

Goldstein compares baseball’s dangers to the Gilded Age’s dangers when he says; “the game was a
constant play of safety and danger” not unlike the daily journey through
hostile urban neighborhoods. The tour around the bases required a passage
through a territory “patrolled by the opposition where one could be put ‘out’
for the slightest error of skill or judgment in order to return home safely”. Syndicate
Ownership was another form of corruption, which occurred when the owners with
multiple teams would move players around to ensure that some teams would do
really well, which would result in others doing extremely poorly. The most
notable case of this is the Cleveland Spiders, who finished with the worst
record in Major League history of 20-134. This syndicate ownership could also
result in gambling and the fixing of games. Ban Johnson was determined to
prevent the evils that the National League permitted, and offered players more
flexible contracts. The National League had the infamous reserve clause, which
forced players to stay with one team at the whim of owners, at whatever salary
that was offered to them. Many players unions sprung up that were similar to
the unions that were appearing in factories. John Montgomery Ward said of the
reserve clause that it “denies him a harbor and livelihood like fugitive slave
law, carries him back bound and shackled to club he attempted to escape”. Some
of these players unions included the Brotherhood of Professional Baseball
Players, and the Player’s Protective Association. The more flexible contracts
that Johnson’s American League attracted many players from the National League.
Johnson’s motivations for establishing this league were similar to the motivations
of the Progressives–to clean up the game. Spalding and Johnson then signed a
sort of peace treaty that created the notion of separate but equal leagues.
This alliance inspired the first true World Series, which would be between the
Boston Pilgrims (soon to be known as the Boston Red Sox) of the American
League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. The leagues insisted
on calling it the World Series even though the distance between the two cities
was merely 650 miles. The series proved so popular, that the leagues decided to
host one every season (with the minor exception of 1904). Mark Twain put it
best when he said, “Baseball is the very symbol, the outward and visible
expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing,
booming 19th century”. Americans love baseball so much because it is
so easy to relate to the causes that they have fought for–it is our game
because it not only reflects America, but the values instilled in workers as

Although there is a theory that
baseball compensates for what work lacks, baseball’s rules and ethics are
actually relevant to Harold L. Wilensky’s congruent hypothesis, which states
that people tend to replicate their work situation in their leisure time.
Stephen M. Gelber’s article Working and Playing: The Culture of the
Workplace and the Rise of Baseball
further illustrates the idea that
baseball expressed and reinforced urban life, business organization, and the
values that underlay them; that it is an expression of free choice providing us
with one view of the nineteenth century American male’s ideal world entered
without compromise. Gelber expands on Wilensky’s congruence theory when he
says; “The congruence between baseball and business explains the rise of the
game during the expanding economy of the nineteenth century”. Christopher
Lasch, in his book “The Corruption of Sports” said, “Industry has routinized,
rationalized and stultified the work experience. Men cannot satisfy their
craving for excitement and creativity on the job so they turn to leisure,
especially sports to find “risk, daring, and uncertainty”, which is relevant to
Wilensky’s notion that “factory workers sought emotionally charged
leisure–baseball”. Gelberd explicates Frederick L. Paxson’s relation between
the “safety valve” and the frontier, which asks us to examine the question:
“Why was there no explosion when the frontier closed and the “safety valve was
screwed down?” Sports provided the necessary release. They were a “New safety
valve built upon the new society”. Gelbard goes speculates; “The city and its
businesses were closed, crowded, interior places of darkness, noise, and bad
air”. The frontier was open, uncrowded, light and healthful. In his view,
baseball is seen not merely as a safety valve like the west, but as a miniature
version of the west”. Gelberd partially refutes the compensatory argument when
he argues; “The attraction lay instead [of taking for example, a walk] in the
many ways that the game replicated an legitimized the social and intellectual
environment of the urban workplace”. Andreano’s No Joy in Mudville helps to further this argument by saying;
“Sportsmen and businessman professed faith in organization, cooperation,
success, and fairness”. Melvin Adelman places the sport in a context of
bourgeois values that include competition, discipline, self-control, and
courage. The fact of the matter was that there was a common workplace
experience shared by the ballplayers that instilled values such as a scientific
worldview, an appreciation of rationality, and competitiveness between groups
with cooperation within–all of which were expressed through the pastime of
baseball. The fundamental reason for the popularity of baseball, as Ken Burns
puts it, “is that it is a rational safety value, a young, ambitious, growing
nation needs to let off steam”. Few Americans knew that the precision it took
to “let off steam” was the same precision it took to work in a factory. Alan
Dawley quoted an 1863 observer calling the factory a “beehive of industry;
everything systemized, everything economized and each part made to act in
concert with every other part”. These precise, systematic ethics of the work
place distinguish America from previous, current, and future pastimes.

The ethics of baseball have
reflected some of the most important ethics to Americans such as individualism,
the struggle for identity, nationalism, and the struggle to retain innocence,
which is why Americans love it so much. Baseball has presented the notion that
an individual is accountable for a precisely defined end result, not unlike
machines for productions whose success or failures affect the collective end
result. It retains elements of personal accountability, particularly when one
goes to bat. Baseball is the perfect of the individual subsuming into the
collective group. Melvin Adelman points out; “Baseball’s structure expressed
the American notion of individualism, with its emphasis on independence,
self-reliance and equality,” “American commitment to equal opportunity as each
batter is afforded roughly the same number of at bats regardless of success”.
Baseball initially struggled for identity because it was a direct descendent of
rounders, a British game. Then again, America is a direct descendent of Britain
as well. Alan Sangree said, “So long as it remains our national game, America
will abide no monarchy, and anarchy will be too slow”. In a sense, baseball
will help America retain its integrity because it would have trouble thriving
in another form of democracy. Baseball’s configuration lay on a diamond, rather
than a square or circle, which is not only aesthetically pleasing to the fans,
but evokes the notion of American exceptionalism. Baseball not only inspired
city pride, but it established a national pride. Even though there were intense
rivalries between teams, at the end of the day, they were still playing the
game of baseball, the fans were still rooting for the game of baseball, and
everyone was singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” after Jack Norwith wrote it
in 1908. Americans have since introduced baseball to Japan, and many countries
in the Caribbean and South America. “It makes me feel American, a part of this
culture”, Gerald Early says, “Baseball will be remembered for three things, the
constitution, jazz, and baseball”. Bob Costas speculates on how baseball
retains the innocence that Americans lack; “It says I think, at root, we’re
children, or we’d like to be and the best of us keep as much of that childhood
wit as we grow into adulthood as we can muster. If we love it then it’s like
Peter Pan–we remain boys forever, we don’t die”. Even though the owners and
players were corrupting the game, the institution itself evoked a childlike
passion. Baseball may not compensate for what work lacks, but it does compensate
for what our emotions lack as Tom Boswell puts it:

“I think baseball is a great support to people who
have emotional voids, gaps, emotional difficulties. That is to say all of us.
Those parts of us that don’t function well, those parts of us that are sad or
depressed. Not everyday they can really use baseball. That isn’t just the child
in the wheelchair or the shut in senior citizen listening to the radio that
needs the game. There’s a part of us, part of everybody, who is a baseball fan,
that needs the game at that level”

Murray Ross says, “[baseball was] conveyed in nostalgia, in
the resuscitation of the Jeffersonian dream. It established an artificial rural
environment”. Ken Burns talks about the psychological aspect of coming home
when he says; “Laborers leave the shade and quiet of a shop for the sun and
fury of a ball ground. They stand and they exercise for hours. They attest that
they need to be men not machines. Athletic games carry men back to their days
of childhood. There is indeed morally a home base in all afflum as there is
literally in baseball”. There is a perfect balance in baseball, as Michael
Novak points out; especially the distance between the bases, “another two feet
between them might settle the issue decisively between them”. David Lamoreaux
compares the infield and outfield division between that of civilization and
wilderness; the infield “an abstract symbol of the civilized portions of the
country, and the outfield with its theoretically illimitable reach… suggests
the frontier” Americans have been attracted to baseball because the struggles
that they watch on the field are virtually congruent to the ones they encounter
on a daily basis.

Baseball’s longevity is remarkable
and is credited to the fact that it embodies everything that America
represents. Robert Angell says, “The biggest appeal of baseball is that it
looks so simple, it looks so familiar and in its outward dimensions, it is
still almost exactly the same game that we played as we were kids. There is a
continuity there that is very attractive to us because some of the other
institutions that we’ve known have disappeared or fallen into disarray… but
baseball feels the same, and I think that is probably its prime attraction”.
Baseball is played in parks, playgrounds, and prison yards, back alleys and
farmers fields, by small boys and old men, raw amateurs and millionaire
professionals. The Saturday Evening Post
talks about the integrity of the institution of baseball when it says,

“It is important to remember in an imperfect and
fretful world that we have anwhich is practically above reproach and above
criticism. Nobody worth mentioning wants to change its constitution or limit
its powers. The government is not asked to inspect it, regulate, suppress,
guarantee, or own it. There is no movement that we know of to uplift it like
the stage, or to abolish it like marriage. No one complains that it’s vulgar
like the newspapers, or that it assassinates genius like the magazines. It
rouses no class passions and while it has magnates, they go unhung with our
approval. This once comparatively perfect flower of our sadly defective
civilization is of course baseball. The only important institution so far as we
remember, which the United States regards with a practically universal approval”. In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, based off of W.P.
Kinsella’s novel, Terrance Mann speaks to baseball’s longevity when he says,
“The one constant through the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like
an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and
erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a
part of our past. It reminds us all of what once was good, and that could be
again”. Over the years baseball has provided opportunities, and liberties for
everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background, and eventually,
regardless of their race; baseball has evolved as America has evolved and it
will continue to do so, long after we are gone.





  1. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    I’ve only read about a third to a half of it because I have to get back to writing a trial court brief. It’s not as exciting as it may sound. I’d rather read your paper. Hahaha. But I wanted to comment on what I’ve read before I forget. I see what you mean about the long paragraphs. Definitely try and figure out how to break those up. It’ll give your readers’ eyes a break, and they’ll stay interested in the paper. So far, it’s really good. You’re a great writer, and I’ll be back to finish it tonight or tomorrow morning!

  2. rockymountainway

    Whoa Elizabeth, the paragraphs is the biggest point I think you already know about. There needs to be a ton more breaks in it but overall the info seems sound. Reading in this scroll format makes it harder and I wish I had it in paper form like you are handing it but I’m sure the teach will be impressed!

  3. Elizabeth D.

    Jen, Bob & Tom: Yeah the paragraphs are terrible I know! I just really like the topic sentences of each and it would make me sad to break it up lol. Thanks!!!

  4. flairforthedramatic

    I made an attempt to read it all but my lazy teenage brain got tired. It sounds really great though. Seriously, how have you not skipped a grade? You’re not trying to pull the same scam as that Dominican prospect who faked his age are you? Lol, jk. Good stuff.
    – V [ ]

  5. Lissi

    Hey Elizabeth!
    You are right the paragraphs are super long. I am also really bad at cutting stuff out so i am probably not the best help.
    Coupe of other things:
    I don’t know if your school makes a big deal out of this, but mine did. We were not allowed to have quotes longer than 3 lines. There were some exceptions if it was close and if you talked tot he teacher but that was big deal. That would also help with some of the length. Basically what i ended up doing was using a lot of “…”‘s and so on.
    In general your transitions are pretty good (esp the one from 5 to 6) but the transition from 3 to 4 was a little shaky. That was another thing my teacher was crazy about so it is kind of drilled into my head.
    Maybe you could split paragraph 4 into two paragraphs, one about city pride and the other about employment opportunities. That would help with one long paragraph.
    I don’t know if you need the baseball being democratic part. At least maybe not where it is. i felt like it did not really flow very well with the entire thing. I think it would need more explanation but as you know there isn’t really room for that.
    And I have a question? Did Spalding or Johnson run the National League? Because at first you said Spalding did but later they were switched (Paragraph 4, First “World Series”) and then again in Paragraph 6.
    One more comment: Poor Cleveland Spiders. 😦 I feel so bad!
    Overall a really good paper and very interesting. I liked it a lot. This was also a long comment sorry.

  6. Elizabeth D.

    Vanessa: Don’t worry about it lol, it was WAY too long. And yes, Im lying about my age lolol.

    Melissa: Thanks for all your help! I may have switched Johnson and Spalding by accident, thanks for catching that! That’s what I get for working eight hours straight!


  7. Elizabeth D.

    Johnny: Thanks! I didn’t think I could write that much either, but when it comes to baseball, I can write forever. I probably need to compress it a little. Julia really helped me out with it!

  8. welikeroywelikeroy

    Amazing use of quotes. There were about two or three that I’ve never heard before. Those were very inspiring to me! Ending with the ‘1 constat’ quote from ‘Field of Dreams,’ gives you an A+ in my books. A strong, strong ending I thought! America does mirror baseball, the quotes you used, and the early economic research you did on organized baseball gives your paper that credit.

    As a baseball history fan, it is hard not to love this paper. You analyzed quotes from Whitman, Twain, Costas and even Billy Crystal! The content is great, although every teacher may ‘nit-picks’ about style. Throughout University, I found that professors sometimes give you hints as to the way they want a paper structured and organized. In one instance, I really made a teacher angry for not addressing something that I had mentioned in my intro!

    Anyway, that is just some of my shared experience. You’ve written an obviously well research, well written, inspiring and passionate paper. If your teacher can’t see that, then he/she must be blind! Great work, and thanks for sharing it with us bloggers.

  9. Elizabeth D.

    Homer: Thanks so much!! I’m glad that they were inspiring quotes! They inspired me when I heard them too! Thanks for all your help!!


  10. xcicix

    Overall amazing, but you did change tenses when you said the American Association and the National League “sign” a treaty. Shouldn’t that be “signed”?
    But I really have to say “WOW!!!” You’re a totally amazing writer! (not that I didn’t have to say that before.)

  11. Elizabeth D.

    Mets Main Man: I did have a lot from Ken Burns baseball! I know it’s long, I couldn’t stop! lol.

    Jane: Thanks! I’m definitely taking into consideration every thing because every suggestion will make it better!

    Jenn: Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Caroline: Aha! You’re right! Thanks for catching that!!

    Aaron: Thanks for catching that Cap Anson thing! It was hard for me to spell the names from just hearing them over Ken Burns! and lol 🙂


  12. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Elizabeth … “Excellent” work on your research paper !!! …

    The report is very well written; very informative; and has many nice links between baseball and the American culture and society !!! … I especially like your quote about baseball as our American Pastime: “The reason that baseball is America’s national pastime is because it perfectly reflects the triumphs and struggles of American history. The pace, rhythm, atmosphere, and competitive spirit are quite similar to the pace, rhythm, atmosphere, and competitve spirit of America”. Very nice phrasing, Elizabeth !!! … You have done extensive research, and included many wonderful quotes in this research paper that really gives the reader a very vivid description of the early days of baseball and its realationship to the American society at the time !!! …….. I agree with your comments in the beginning of this post, stating that the “paragraph’s in your paper are way too long”. But, that can easily be corrected by breaking your paragraph’s up into smaller paragraph’s. And, one error I did notice was in the fifth paragraph up, from the bottom of your report, in the Gerald Early quote. I think the quote should read: “America will be remembered for three things: the constitution; jazz; and Baseball” [not, “Baseball will be remembered …”] … Also, I think, you can expand a little bit more on the uniqueness of “home plate” in baseball, and the connection between the safety of “home” that we all feel in society; and, how “home plate” in baseball is a place that players on both teams in a baseball game want to return to [we all start at home, and, also, want to return home] … You have a quote by Ken Burns in your paper talking about the “psychological aspect of coming home”, and this would be a very important area to expand on, because, I think, originally, this was the major significant reason that “home plate” was called “home” and not “fourth base” !!! … Also, maybe, you could explore in greater detail, the business of baseball in the Negro Leagues at the time; and, how baseball was brought to the South during the Civil War !!! … Those are just some suggestions. Basically, you covered a lot of ground in your research paper, and did an “Excellent” job !!! … And, I think the length of the report is just fine. The more words about baseball, the better !!! … Also, using the “James Earl Jones speech” from the movie “Field of Dreams”, towards the end of your research paper, was a perfect way sum up your report, as that speech sums up our great American Pastime, Baseball, so perfectly !!! … Your research paper is, “A Very Nice Work Of Art”, Elizabeth !!! … You should be very proud !!! … Jimmy [27NYY],”BY&L”

  13. ohy22xd

    WOW. This is perfect. I don’t have any negative thoughts about the report. You included interesting details so that people can enjoy reading. (In this case, it’s an entry [: ) I admire your writing so much and you are a talented writer. 5000 words? Simply amazing. I can’t even write 1000! Excellent job and keep it up!

  14. Elizabeth D.

    Jimmy: Thanks so much for catching all of my mistakes!! I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

    Hyun Young: Thanks so much!! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I’m sure you’ll be able to write 5,000 soon, especially if it is about something you’re passionate about. Thanks for all your positive support!


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