Over the past 150 years baseball has impacted American culture in more ways then any one person could. Baseball has brought the country together as a whole; being the national past time of our great nation it brings a sense of connection amongst many peculiar people. Dating back to June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey, the first official game recorded had unfolded, unaware that these men had just opened up the beginning of a new era in American history. Baseball has undoubtedly united the different cultures found in the United States. Undeniably affecting our culture as whole for the better of the nation.
There is an image that was created by baseball and those who took part in its festivities. Not even 20 years after the first official game they had accumulated a crowd of more then 20,000 spectators for the championship game between the Mutual Club of Manhattan and the Atlantic Club of Brooklyn. This demonstrates the instant impact that baseball had on the community, allowing thousands of unfamiliar people to come together and cheer for the team of their choosing. When entering a baseball stadium what kind of people do you see? Not just one kind, there are a vast amount of different cultures that come together on game day for one common interest, enjoying a game of baseball with their family.
Jackie Robinson, the most iconic name in baseball since 1947, when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was the first African-American athlete to compete in an all-white Major League. He remained steadfast in his active fighting of racial injustice on the field. Demonstrating to everyone that talent wasn’t defined by race or cultural background but rather the player wearing the uniform. The revolution that Robinson had assisted Martin Luther King Jr. with; their lifelong battled to open American’s eyes to a new way of life, living together as one. It’s easy to see how Jackie Robinson playing baseball affected how we live today.
Not only did Jackie Robinson open baseball to African-Americans but player of all different races. Paving the way for a variety of culturally diverse players such as Dominicans’, which are now some of the greatest players in the world. Baseball has given chances for people all across the globe to come to America and share their culture with fans and teammates. Another good example of this is Hideki Matsui, when he transitioned into the Major Leagues where he brought the name “Godzilla” and an entire country of fans. Matsui was known throughout Japan and allowed for everyone to join into the sensation of Japanese culture that he brought with him from his homeland. Matsui started the hype of managers wanting to bring in more and more Japanese baseball-players in to States. This caused an explosion of media and allowed for Americans and the Japanese to have a common interest, being these iconic players.
“The rituals of baseball were regarded as a valuable source of social integration for adults. Fans were supposed to develop a strong sense of identification with their community (even though few, if any of the players came from their town). Participation in the rituals was said to provide a safety valve for their tensions. It was also thought to help acculturate immigrants.”(Riess, Touching base 41). Riess explains precisely what I’m presenting, Baseball allows for fans to have a day to forget strife and hatred, and enjoy a day of entertainment. Sharing a favorite team is how most relationships are started today. I often find myself approaching someone and asking him or her their preferred baseball team, or maybe they’re wearing apparel of “my” team.
I say “my” because when you follow a team for years and attend games, or watch from home, you feel a sense of connection with that team and fans as well. Baseball teams give a community a special bond to their home team, regardless of who is in the community or on the team. As long as a person will cheer for “my” team, I don’t care about their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Someone demonstrating a love for the game shouldn’t be viewed differently and be thought of as an equal. This is why baseball has been able to partially eliminate the cultural segregation in America, creating one bigger picture that each person can have a certain role.
You can observe in the stadiums the designated days to celebrate a specific culture. This allows everyone to partake in the festivities and learn about an unfamiliar ethnicity. During the All-Star break in July, the best young talents from around the world are invited into America to play against the future talent here in America. This allows for our young players to view the different lifestyles of those around the globe. In addition to showing the worldwide talent how culturally adapted America has come by partaking in something as simple as playing and watching baseball.
Therefore, many can agree that despite the controversy that had once surrounded baseball, regarding the Negro League and equal play, has now become a conduit for multi-cultural individuals to showcase their talent. As well as open the community to a new culture where everyone can coexist and enjoy a good game of baseball. Although it sounds cliché my belief is that people who have a love for baseball are more open to diverse groups of people. Different cultures and beliefs are currently shaping our nation and persistently having an impact on the culture we have established in America. The society we have created in America is idolized and envied all around the world, our belief of accepting those who are our fellow citizen. But despite all this, there has always been the one pastime that has followed, and that is baseball.