Baseball Is More Than a Sport

This is not the season for baseball, but I have been watching Ken Burns’ film about the history of baseball in the U.S.  It evolved over many years from two English games, Rounders, a children’s game, and Cricket, played all over the world.  By mid to late 19th Century it was practically the same game played today with four bases 90 feet apart, and a pitcher’s mound 60 feet from home base.  The field is wonderfully geometric, with right angles, a total of 360 degrees around the bases, and the number of feet between the pitcher’s  mound and home base in proportion to the total.

Many of the commentators in the film mentioned how important the game is to our national heritage.  It is really the national sport, unique to the U.S.

From a Bank of America sponsership for the film:  “We believe baseball is more than a sport.  It is a window into our nation’s culture, diversiy, heritage and determinants.”

“On base” and “off-base” are two idioms from the game of baseball used a lot in American English.  To be on-base, one is doing the right thing, the appropriate thing.  In acting off-base one is using inappropriate behavior.


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