An Independence Day Without Baseball
Since I can remember, the Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday — the humid heat of a mid-summer’s day in St. Louis, Missouri, the smell of brats, burgers, hot dogs, and ribs, my eyes dry from chlorine, and ending the night with fireworks that give the sky a few more minutes of artificial daylight. But the best part of Independence Day every year is all the baseball.
Every year when I wake up on the Fourth, I start my day by watching The Sandlot — it used to be more of a habit than a tradition to watch the movie, but we all grow up. As a kid, we’d always go to my grandma’s house where there’d be almost a hundred relatives and family friends. Inside the house, the TV was inevitably tuned into the Cardinals game. In the backyard, we’d usually try to play whiffleball — which would last about five minutes until a group of toddlers would find their way into the infield.
Baseball is the only major American sport that’s still playing in the summer. Even people who don’t normally care about baseball pay attention for a while to bridge the gap between the NHL/NBA seasons until football comes back. On Independence Day, all Americans are baseball fans.
Baseball’s been called the “Great American Pastime” for some time. We have these myths and legends about the creation of the sport we all love — Abner Doubleday, or whatever other stories made up by Americans to tie this to our legacy. Not the British. Not the French. American. Too bad it’s really most-likely just a bastardized version of cricket.
Whether baseball was a truly-American creation or not, it doesn’t matter. Baseball doesn’t belong to anyone. What matters is that it has become part of American tradition. It’s become tied with many of our traditions on the day we all celebrate our country, and it won’t be the same without.
Featured image: ballparksofbasball.com