Major League Baseball: America’s Game

Major League Baseball is America’s game. Things are really heating up in America’s favorite pastime right now, as the races for the postseason get closer and closer by the minute. However, during these times of heated rivalries, it is very easy to forget the times that baseball was actually there for the communities that were shaken by tragedies.

Case Study 1: The Boston Marathon Bombing 

On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring several hundred more in its wake. I know we all saw “Patriots Day” with Mark Wahlberg, but there is something that people seem to push aside about what happened after the bombings, a speech made by the player second to only Tom Brady in the hearts of Boston sports fans, David Ortiz.

Watch below:

The speech not only lifted the spirits of everyone in Boston, but also encompassed the spirit of the “Boston Strong” campaign that followed. Although it was a great speech, it is not what healed the city of Boston. This did.

The Boston Red Sox were World Series Champions, and the city of Boston learned that, it is always darkest before the dawn. And that no matter how dark it got, baseball would be there.

Case Study 2: Jackie Robinson

In today’s time, racial tensions run high and people lose sight of the brotherhood that we are supposed to share as Americans. Most of the time when people think of great moments of civil rights, they automatically go to Rosa Parks on the bus or Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. But often people forget about the one who truly got the ball rolling, a Brooklyn Dodger by the name of Jackie Robinson.

Without writing a novel, let’s just do the highlights. As the first African-American Major League Baseball player, Jackie underwent a lot of scrutiny from not only the public, but also other players and managers. Luckily, Jackie knew to be the bigger person and let his play do the talking rather than let the racists of the time get under his skin. Jackie Robinson is a hero, and without him, we would still only see color, rather than heart and skill when it comes to sports. Below is just a small snippet of the impact that Jackie brought to this world.

Case Study 3: 9/11

This is a day that shall live in infamy, the one day that if you were an American at the time or in America, most people can remember the exact second they watched the planes fly into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as well as the pentagon and United 93 in Pennsylvania.

Yankee Stadium became the setting, and fans flooded in week after week to see the team go on a historic run to make the post season, and eventually, the world series. In the ALCS, the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners to advance to the series, at the time, Seattle had won 116 regular season games, which is still the current record for wins in the regular season.

During the World Series, fear was rampant across America, how could those terrorists strike us in our own land. It was up to George W. Bush to throw out the first pitch that day and there were rumblings about how maybe the game should be shifted to then Bank One Ballpark in Arizona. How did the President respond to those? By one quote, “If you’re going to throw out a pitch during a World Series with the Yankees at this point in history there’s only one place to go – Yankee Stadium.” President Bush knew what it would mean to the Country to have him be seen in a vulnerable spot and say, “we will not back down.” And when he delivered a strike on the ceremonial first pitch? The crowd went wild.

“The gravity of the moment never really hit me until the first step coming out of that dugout,” Bush said. “I remembering the noise and it was deafening. I remember looking around the stadium, this giant crowd. Standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium was by far the most nervous moment of my presidency.”
Case Study 4: Hurricane Harvey 
Recently, the city of Houston and the immediate surrounding areas flooded with so much water that people  lost their homes, and some lost their lives. Across Major League Baseball, teams are coming together and creating fundraisers that are going directly to those in need. A few examples are as followed, during the last homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks matched every donation to their 50/50 raffle to help those affected by the hurricane. The final total ran somewhere around $400k.  The Tampa Bay Rays gave the Houston Astros use of their home stadium to host a game against the Texas Rangers, the Astros also donated $4 million to the relief efforts.  These are just a few examples of what teams are doing across the league to help those affected by this tragedy.
Although these are two of the larger case studies, there are a lot of teams that do a lot of work in the communities and create those lasting memories. Baseball is America’s past time is because of moments like these that lift cities and the nation past huge tragedies that shake us to our very core.


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Corey Decker

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