This week in baseball

By on October 10, 2002

Let baseball expand. There are 30 Major League teams, 28 from America and two from Canada. Who would care if they added a team from Puerto Rico and Mexico City? The purists.
What is a baseball purist?
It is someone who believes in Ford Frick’s asterisk next to Roger Maris’ name in the record books for hitting 61 homeruns in 1961.
It is someone who believes in contraction to the point where only the original 16 teams that existed from 1901 to 1961 would consist of Major League Baseball.
It is someone who believes the designated hitter is the Anti-Christ.
So what really is a baseball purist? A baseball purist is a baseball fundamentalist. A fundamentalist is someone who believes literally in the interpretation of the Bible.
A baseball fundamentalist is therefore someone who doesn’t believe in change. Sixty homeruns, a .406 batting average, and a 56 game hitting streak. These numbers to the purist are as hallowed as the ten Commandments. Hank Aaron’s 755 homeruns, topping Babe Ruth’s 714, to a purist is like Charles Darwin proving the Bible wrong.
Are we as people worse off then before Charles Darwin? Is baseball not as pure since Hank Aaron? What the human race and baseball are since Darwin and Hammerin’ Hank is more rich, more worldly and a more knowledgeable people.
So apply this to modern day baseball. Why not expand? Why not have Major League teams in all the baseball crazy Latin-American countries? Why not have Major League teams in Japan? If leagues already exist and a fan base is already established in these foreign places, then why not unite?
Make the World Series a real World Series. Have the New York Yankees play the Tokyo Giants for the championship of the baseball world.
Baseball fundamentalists would despise expansion and the globalization of baseball to the endth degree, but wouldn’t it help unite the world? Wouldn’t a true World Series help make the world a better place?
Let’s compare baseball to Roman gladiators. If baseball is America’s national pastime, then perhaps the gladiators, dueling in the great Roman Coliseum, were the Roman’s national pastime. What are gladiators to us today?
Gladiators are Roman warrior-heroes, but that’s all. If our great game, our national pastime of baseball, years from now came to an end, how would world history remember the game?
Would Babe Ruth even be remembered 2,000 years from now? After all, what significance did the Bambino play in the history and development of the world?
If baseball can go beyond the boundaries that all games have limited themselves to before, then baseball has carved itself out a niche in world history. Baseball has then played a role in the betterment of society.
To all baseball purists, you are as backward as religious fundamentalists. You resent change for an ancient way of life that is not as rich, wourldly, and true as life today. We are better people because of Charles Darwin. We are better people because of Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron. We have a deeper understanding for our planet and for life.
World peace through the globalization of baseball. We could do worse.


About Andy Zides