March 31st, 2014 dates the most radical change in one of America’s longest standing institutions. No, not Ford or the American Red Cross, an even older, more heavily engrained establishment in American life. The institution I’m referring to is Major League Baseball, and for 145 years, the game of baseball has been much untouched, despite the immense technological advances during that period. That age of purity came to an end, many think, only months ago.
March 31st was opening day for the MLB, and opened a new era in America’s game. It was not just the start of a new season, but also the start of the use of video replay to challenge the calls of umpires on nearly every type of play. Before the 2014 season, video replay held little importance in the every play life of baseball, only being implemented to confirm home run calls. But now, managers had the power to challenge an umpire’s call on nearly any type of play, something unheard of in the game of baseball. This progressive step into the 21st century was accepted by many, but not loved by all, especially by those more traditional baseball fans.
These traditional baseball fans are some of the most passionate the game has to offer. Many, but not all, are fans of older age, committed to preserving the game that they grew up with all their life. This application of video replay came to the chagrin of many of these fans, as they feel it is unnecessarily modernizing America’s classic game. Many also feel that this could just be the first step of technological implementation until umpires are negligible and the game is ultimately unrecognizable.
However, many fans don’t envision such a dark future ahead, but rather a bright one. Copious of the games followers feel this is the MLB’s first step in the right direction into the 21st century, a quality progressive idea for the classic game. These fans bring up the examples of video replay implementation in other sports, most notably football, that have thrived, and have pushed themselves into the forefront of American sports sphere.
Video replay is only one of the many facets to the main problem that troubles Major League Baseball: lack of youth viewership. Video replay, along with many other possible ideas, have pushed many of these baseball traditionalists to the brim knowing how important it is to pass the game down to the next, techno-oriented generation, while not abandoning their beliefs.
Now take the term ‘traditionalist fan’ and replace it with political conservative, and change the context to any of the contemporary political problems prodding action. Not so different, huh? This comparison captures what I believe is the core message of our political theory/sport and the university class. These sports that we play, watch and love are so much more than just a game; they are a spectrum of beliefs on how the sport should be carried out. These beliefs are so various and complex, they mirror our ethics and morals that shape our political interests. Sports are so entrenched into us, that the belief of whether video replay should be implemented is just as or more important than policies that shape our everyday world. It’s weird, yes, and some think that these kinds of people are crazy. Yet, it only furthers the idea that the baseball and political spectrum only mimic the human spectrum and the differences between us all. Baseball, one of the few things us Americans can all agree is ours, is still something we can’t agree about, which is why it is great.