Baseball and Patriotism

I woke up Monday morning to the blathering of the morning radio talk show people, as usual.  However, this time they were babbling about something that sounded like it might be important.  It had something to do with the Phillies and the war on terrorism.  I was confused.  As I slowly woke up and turned on the real news, I learned what all the fuss was about.

Given the change in sports post-9/11, I was a little surprised that so many commentators were once again linking sports and patriotism, specifically saying that “sports once again plays an important role.”  Not that sports aren’t important, its just that after 9/11, there was a lot of talk about how sports should take a back seat to the real world and recognize the real heroes of society. 

In fact, shortly after 9/11, I had the opportunity to see Cal Ripken’s last game in Yankee Stadium.  But even I ended up missing that one.  It was such a sad and overwhelming time, that I just couldn’t bring myself to travel to New York, even at the risk of missing a monumental game and disappointing a good friend (still feeling guilty, though!).  Later, I studied the extent of baseball patriotism in the minor leagues, noting the many things various teams did in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.  Only then did I recognize the healing potential of sport.

Though seeing a unified fan reaction is rather awe-inspiring, I’m still not sure what to make of the sports-patriotism connection – where it comes from and what it means.  Nonetheless, it is definitely a sociological fact that the two are inextricably linked.  Here are some of the more interesting articles from the past few days:



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