MLB was the king of sports once.
It’s America’s 245th birthday and baseball used to celebrate it by owning the Fourth of July entertainment with double headers and pennant races. Now MLB is abusing fans by eliminating minor league teams, threatening to move the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas and checking pitchers for foreign substances which works well in pro wrestling but not in baseball. Baseball is not front and center in the American sports world anymore. At one time, The Fourth of July was baseball, apple pie, swimming and fireworks. Baseball was, Casey At The Bat, or Take Me Out to the Ballgame, as Katie Casey told her boyfriend I want to go to the ball game in the song. There was the Babe and the great DiMaggio who was lionized in the Old Man and the Sea classic book by Hemingway. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello argued over who’s on first. Baseball cards had so many uses. Joe DiMaggio would be revisited in song in Paul Simon’s classic Mrs. Robinson. Baseball players were in vaudeville, in movies, and on radio and in TV. In 1954, the French social commentator Jacques Barzun noted “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”
There was a countdown to spring training and for certain Americans that was also the countdown to spring and the coming of warm weather and the Fall Classic and the Hot Stove League. Opening Day was an event and it was the boys of summer. Baseball was omnipresent. Now sports seasons clash. Opening Day takes a back seat to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals all competitors and NFL July training camps. There was always horse racing, summer golf and tennis tournaments but baseball until the 1960s was always at the top followed by boxing and horse racing. The days of baseball being king are done.
Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191