Baseball and its Beliefs

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, eMLB_gamespecially 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.

AdrianBeltreSwingingNow 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.

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3 comments

  1. alexdt2014 · October 18, 2014

    Very interesting article, and I think you’re right. Many people definitely take their sports more seriously than they do politics. My parents sometimes tell me I don’t watch the news enough, and I always reply that I watch ESPN all the time, which is the news I care about. If you’re passionate about a sport, you are going to have strong opinions about any controversy involved with that sport. I also want to bring up a different topic you mentioned: the lack of youth viewership in baseball. I definitely don’t think that the expansion of video replay within the sport will attract more youth viewers. If anything, I think it will turn them away. The problem with baseball as that it is boring because it is so slow. Video replay slows it down even more.

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  2. gretandr · October 19, 2014

    Well received point! I wasn’t sure where you were going with your idea in the beginning, but you definitely hit a homer with the conclusion. It’s interesting to think of politics in the realm of traditional beliefs. Older generations must constantly accept that new beliefs change society every year… causing a new and inevitable overview of the political system. You also picked a great sport to write about, in my opinion. I think that baseball is the true, traditional American sport, so it was very simple to understand and relate to the topic.

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  3. jbaren · October 25, 2014

    I love that someone brought up the discussion of the addition of video replay in baseball. As a huge baseball fan myself, I question whether this addition is a positive or a negative thing. When it was first introduced as being a possibility a couple of years ago, I thought that it was terrible and it would ruin the “pastime” aspect to baseball. Additionally, it would probably make the game longer as it is already so slow, and it does, as you mentioned alexdt2014. As time has gone by I’ve learned to embrace it a little more. I’ve been to some games where video replay has needed to be used and although it does make the game a little more boring, it’s nice knowing that the right call was made. In regular season games this can be a little annoying, however nearer to the end of the season and especially in the playoffs when it matters, no one would want a truly fair ball to be called foul and not be able to be reviewed. No one would want a scoring play to be called the opposite way. This does make the game slightly longer however since the video replay additions, the amount of times I’ve heard people say another team won because of the umpires has been significantly reduced, which is a good thing. All in all I’m in favor of video replay. Nothing is perfect in the beginning stages, but things improve over time. Umpires used to review the plays themselves and took a long time. And in just a short time of this addition they’ve changed to having umpires offsite review possibly controversial calls so that the time it takes to review a play is reduced.

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