Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Baseball is an odd sport if you really break it down. A series of seemingly random skills are put to the test in the most unconventional of arenas imaginable. Players are asked to swing a large, heavy, wooden stick to blast a small object as far as possible at one moment and to exercise acute precision and agility the next. To me it always seemed a gentleman’s hobby, like polo, as if it were designed as a lark on an abnormally dreary weekend.
It could be the uniforms but I feel that baseball has managed to hang onto that seemingly indelible sense of romanticism. Though time has been rough on the sport, with scandals arriving weekly, I can still distinctly remember my youthful connection to the sport and its players.
Growing up in Baltimore meant something in the mid-90s; Cal Ripken Jr. was like family as well as the heart of the city. Loyalty meant something and being part of the “boys’ club” was to participate in seasonal battle with the gods.
In Moneyball, protagonist Billy Beane reflects, “It’s easy to be romantic about baseball.” Moneyball makes it seem incredibly easy, as it oozes nostalgia and reverence for a sport that functions as a perfect allegory for the American spirit and capitalistic infrastructure.