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  • We at Prager University understand that America's culture is as important to the nation's health

  • as American politics. And that sport is an important cultural ingredient. So, consider

  • the many reasons why baseball deserves to be the national pastime--the game especially

  • suited to our democracy.

  • First, democracy celebrates ordinary people. Of course baseball players have extraordinary

  • talents. But most players resemble ordinary people. As a wise baseball man once said:

  • To play baseball, you do not need to be seven feet tall or seven feet wide.

  • And baseball, like America, has a strong independent judiciary--the umpires. In fact, baseball is,

  • in one regard, better than the rest of America. In baseball, three strikes and you're out

  • --the most expensive Washington lawyers and lobbyists can't help you.

  • And remember, racial integration came to baseball in 1947, a year before integration came to

  • the armed services. And eight years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of

  • the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

  • Today, baseball is a career open to talented people from around the world. About 20 percent

  • of major leaguers are from outside North America. This is because in baseball the only race

  • that matters is the race to the base.

  • Baseball is a game of episodes--pitch by pitch, out by out, inning by inning, game by game.

  • Hence baseball generates an enormous, constantly enriched sediment of numbers. And these numbers

  • make baseball a game that embraces what a free society requires--personal accountability.

  • Every morning during the season, a player will find in the box score a precise record

  • of what he did the day before--his runs, hits, outs, strike outs, errors. If he was thrown

  • out trying to steal second base, the box score will say so. If he failed to drive in teammates

  • who were in scoring position, the box score will announce this failure to the world.

  • In no other sport--and no other profession-- is individual performance so unsparingly displayed

  • and dissected. Imagine if--every day--America's lawyers and teachers and business people and

  • journalists had to read in the morning's paper a box score measuring the caliber of their

  • previous day's work.

  • A free society like America is a place where people are free to strive--and hence are free

  • to fail. There is a lot of failure in America--most new business ventures fail--and baseball is

  • a game of constant failure. A player who bats .300 is a star--but a star who fails to get

  • a hit 70 percent of the time. And the teams that lose today must pick themselves up,

  • dust themselves off and start all over again tomorrow. For six months.

  • Which brings us to the number that is hardest for most fans to appreciate.

  • It is not one of the famous numbers of individual achievement. Not Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting

  • streak in 1941. Not Ted Williams .406 batting average, also in 1941. No, the hardest number

  • to comprehend is 162. That is the number of games each team plays--in about 185 days.

  • Because baseball is the sport of the longest season, it is the sport in which luck matters least.

  • After 162 games, each team is its record--no better, no worse. From the beginning of April

  • to the end of October, the bad bounces and lucky hits even out. Which means baseball

  • is what America aspires to be--a real meritocracy.

  • Baseball also is a good game for a democracy because it teaches democratic lessons.

  • It is a game of the half loaf. In baseball, as in democracy, no one gets everything he wants.

  • Essentially all 30 teams go to Spring Training knowing they are going to win 60 games

  • and lose 60 games. They play the long season to sort out the other 42 games. And every team

  • also knows this: If it wins only 10 out of every 20 games, it is obviously mediocre.

  • But if it wins 11 out of every 20, it will win almost 90 games and have a good chance

  • of playing in the post-season. Which is why in baseball, as in the life of a competitive

  • free society, little differences, ultimately, make an enormous difference.

  • Baseball also is, as America is, both about individualism--and cooperation. The heart

  • of the game is the one-on-one battle between the batter and the pitcher. But baseball also

  • requires teamwork--on offense, to move runners another 90 feet

  • --and on defense, to make 27 putouts.

  • A wise man once said that there are really just two seasons, baseball season--and the void.

  • Happily, the void ends, and another season is here. So take yourself out to a

  • ball game and savor all the ways the national pastime illustrates the nation's values.

  • And while youre there, have a hot dog. That’s American culture, too.

  • I'm George Will for Prager University.

We at Prager University understand that America's culture is as important to the nation's health

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野球。アメリカと同じくらいユニーク (Baseball: As Unique as America)

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    林冠宏 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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