Walt Whitman said of baseball in 1888, "America’s game: has the snap, go, fling, of the American atmosphere—belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life. It is the place where memory gathers."
Baseball is "America's Pastime". It is etched into the cultural firmament. Popular parlance accords euphemisms to its rules and intricacies ("out to left field", "three strikes you're out", etc.). It stands as one of, if not the, first wholly American cultural institution. The game lends itself to unique forms of personal expression from Hideo Nomo's zen-like windup to Dontrelle Willis' careening, coordinated lunge towards the plate to Mark McGuire's scythe like swing and became the country's first cultural export spreading rapidly to Japan and Latin America soon after its inception.
During the early 20th century, a country comprised of many different ethnic and religious groups—with no shared history or aristocracy to look up to—found common ground in the sport. Baseball, with its pastoral stadiums set against the grime of the city, inherited a role in communities from the Roman bathhouses. So much sway did it hold over the public's imagination, that it became a staple of the American seasonal calendar: spring, marked by the onset of Spring Training, and fall by the World Series.
In many ways, the history of baseball has mirrored and presaged the trajectory of the nation. Conceived shortly before the Civil War, the first professional teams emerged shortly after the dust settled. It sputtered along in various forms until the Roaring 20s when it exploded in popularity with Babe Ruth as the Jupiterean lord of the diamond representing the new upwardly mobile American Empire emerging from WWI.
In 1947, nearly 10 years before the courts desegregated schools, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and in the 80s and 90s, the sport saw a large influx of Hispanic players reflecting the wider demographic shifts of the country.
Around the time of the Dot Com Bubble, the sport saw its own form of artificially enhanced dynamism as juicers like Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds shredded records standing for nearly 40 years only to be denoted by an "asterisk" after doping scandals swept through the league.
Today, baseball languishes amidst the myriad diversions offered to Americans. Plagued by its own wholly unique issues, it has suffered from dwindling attendance and a backseat position in the American cultural zeitgeist. The MLB has pondered rule changes to speed the game up and, recently, decided to "deaden" balls to reduce the monotony of the sport's reliance on the long ball that once made it a staple.
But the death knell may have sounded with the recent declaration by the league that, in response to reasonable voter laws passed by the Georgia legislature, the All-Star game will no longer take place in Atlanta. A blatantly divisive move that underscores the power struggle in Washington more than the conflict between citizens the same government is insistent on fostering, the MLB is the latest institution to forgo its most endearing aspects at the behest of the Woke Theocracy.
I don't think Whitman would have much to say about baseball were he alive today, but I'm certain he would scoff at the pathetic display of power a core American institution by and for the people made at the expense of the people.
In the coming weeks, we'll feature a rundown of the previous week's market activity. Stay tuned.
Sacred Nashville institution, the Exit/In, under contract to be sold to AJ Capital Partners, developers of the gauche Graduate Hotel ❂❂ A key decision this week will decide whether Nashville citizens will be able to vote on a charter limiting Metro's ability to set property tax rates. Who wants higher taxes? Not the citizens. ❂❂ A Tennessee bill would require parent's permission to teach their children about the LGBT community ❂❂ Amazon provides backing to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center ❂❂ Vaccinations now open to Nashville residents 16+ ❂❂ Metro finance officials grapple with a growing deficit ($4.3 billion) produced by pension payments to retired government workers ❂❂ Tennessee legislature passes permitless handgun carry bill ❂❂ BNA's refresh continues
Bonnaroo returns in 2021 headlined by Tame Impala, Tyler, the Creator, Lana Del Ray, the Foo Fighters, and more ❂❂ AmericanaFest also ponders a return in late-September ❂❂ The Picasso exhibits continues through the rest of April at the Frist ❂❂ This is the last week to checkout Cheekwood in Bloom ❂❂ Tuesday, the Sam Bush Band's Spring Training at 3rd & Lindsley ❂❂ Thursday, that weird, red headed guy you might recognize from Instagram, JP Sears, does a couple of sets at Zanies
Five Easy Pieces
- A great review of the new Lana Del Ray album 'Chemtrails Over the Country Club' by Micah Meadowcroft.
- The Louvre has scanned and uploaded every piece of art in the museum for you to browse for free online. We'll be browsing the Grecian urns.
- An online Suez Canal simulator.
- A good essay on Jack Dorsey by Mike Solana as the closest thing we have to free speech advocate in the tech world (/ourguy/).
- Bitcoin sees its most profitable month for miners in its short, dramatic history. For the uninformed, a good primer here.