Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sports Casters believe baseball created in US: PTI's Wilbon says so

This is for all you sports fans. I found an example of how pervasive the creation myth about baseball is. I had PTI (Pardon the Interruption) on a day or two after the US lost to Ghana and was kicked out of the World Cup series. At the top of the rundown list was the US loss to Ghana. In the discussion about the World Cup, Wilbon argued that until we care more about Soccer, we can’t expect to do very well. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that it’s not a sport that was created in America like baseball or basketball. Tony Korheiser, the other host, did not object to Wilbon’s claims and I’m pretty sure that the show didn’t receive a hoard of angry e-mails from PTI watchers wondering why Wilbon and Korheiser think that baseball was created in the US. In this case, the baseball creation myth serves a purpose. Wilbon was using the myth as a justification for America’s lack of dedication to a sport that “doesn’t belong to us.” I searched on the web for a transcript from that day, but couldn’t find one. But here’s a link to a traveling Baseball As America exhibit that’s currently in my home state, Michigan. It’s at the Henry Ford Museaum in Dearborn. In a press release about the exhibit Douglas McDonald the president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal hailed Cincinnati as a perfect place for the exhibit. “As the birthplace of professional baseball, Cincinnati is the perfect city to host an important historical and cultural exhibit like Baseball As America.” Is Cincinnati the birthplace of professional baseball? I’m not sure, but another press release about the exhibit says it contains the baseball from the “mythic first game in 1839.” Was the first game in 1839? Check it out.

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