Narrative Essay On A Baseball

Narrative Essay On A Baseball-66
Selections in the Library of America's volume Baseball: A Literary Anthology confirm the role of fathers.

Selections in the Library of America's volume Baseball: A Literary Anthology confirm the role of fathers.Annie Dillard, in her memoir An American Childhood, begins a riff on baseball lingo by conjuring the following scene: "One Sunday afternoon Mother wandered through our kitchen, where Father was making a sandwich and listening to the ball game." Stephen Jay Gould's essay "The Streak of Streaks" opens this way: "My father was a court are very few photographs of my dad as a child.

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Meanwhile, the percentage of white players has remained fairly level since the 1970s, with the difference being made up by the influx of Latinos and Asians.

As for spectators, they are increasingly and overwhelmingly white. Before 1947, during the era of the Negro Leagues, play was segregated, but audiences crossed the color line.

It is striking that there has been no similar decline in enthusiasm for basketball or football; the racial compositions of the NBA and NFL have held steady at 75% and 66% black, respectively. For starters, we might note that baseball is an acquired taste, whereas the other ball sports have a certain natural appeal.

Jacques Barzun, in his essay "God's Country and Mine," observes that in baseball, "The ball is not the center of interest as in those vulgar predatory games like football, basketball, and polo." To put it bluntly, kids don't need fatherly guidance to appreciate "vulgar predatory games." Football, in particular, as a collision sport, is the stuff of adolescent male fantasy.

Religion and baseball — those were the two commemorated moments of cultural transmission. But two of my favorites are baseball photos: one of me, less than a year old, cradled in my dad's arm, watching a baseball game; another of me and my sister in our Minnesota Twins jackets being taught to throw — not like girls — by our dad.

The experience of things baseball is a legacy from fathers to sons (and sometimes daughters).At his less than princely salary, we watched Yankee games from the bleachers or high in the third deck." In an essay on her brother Paul's appearance in the World Series, "Coming to the Plate, One Family's Ethos," Molly O'Neill tells of a ­baseball-mad father who "never seemed to remember any of his sons' names until he heard them announced over the public address system at the Little League park." The most powerful testimony comes from Amiri Baraka, the radical black nationalist and Marxist, who recalls that "the specialest feeling was when my father took me down to Ruppert Stadium some Sundays to see the Newark Eagles, the black pro team.Very little in my life was as heightened (in anticipation and reward) for me as that....Kids play what they love, which is not determined by rational calculation, nor foreclosed by poverty (at least not in the case of a democratic game like baseball).In the past, city kids without resources were resourceful enough to play ­stickball — and a farm boy like my dad learned to stitch together the leather on his one baseball to keep it playable.Baseball is a mirror of American liberty and of the virtues necessary to sustain it.BLACK FLIGHT This sport of fathers and sons is under strain in those precincts of our culture where fatherhood itself is in trouble.The data from Major League Baseball are the most readily available: By 1975, almost three decades after Jackie Robinson arrived, the proportion of African-­American ­players reached a high of 27%.That number then fell off for the next three decades, reaching a low of 8% in 2007.The argument runs that because baseball requires more expensive gear than basketball and more infrastructure (tended fields, leagues, and such), impoverished black youths have perforce given up on the game.This explanation doesn't wash for football, however, which is the most gear-laden of sports.


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