Why Baseball, Exactly?

October Fever. The Big Dance. The Fall Classic.

Affectionately nicknamed over and over again, the allure of the World Series boils down to one fact--it is the most significant time of the year for Major League Baseball, and, as such, it gains importance as one of the most exciting events in numerous individual American lives.

Sad, you say, that a sport can occupy such a pre-eminent position in our society? That students ignore work, commitments, and meetings, just to cheer for their favorite baseball team?


Some people seem to think so. I think not.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from an old friend who had just finished watching the introduction of the "players of the century" in the first World Series game. She commented that, to her surprise, she "got nostalgic when [she] saw the real old players because the sight stirred in [her] various emotions, even though [she] is not a baseball fan really and doesn't think that it's that important in the scheme of things." Yet, she continued, there was something "so poignant about it all."

Now, she told me this because she felt I would understand. And I do.

However, I take issue with her statement that "it's not all that important in the scheme of things." I could approach this as a philosophical argument (after all, what really is important in the scheme of things?), but I'll leave that to the philosophy concentrators out there. No, the importance of baseball lies in its unique power.

Not only can it excite the strongest of emotions, but baseball is also the one thing that has been able to accomplish what politicians have struggled with for years--the ability to unite communities.

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