Guys Who Didn’t Invent Baseball Part I: Ideology

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Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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  1. Avatar El Muneco
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    Even today, the way that rounders (baseball) and netball (basketball) have largely become perceived as schoolgirl games gives the British sports fan a simple shorthand way of throwing shade at Americans. Add in the British influence over the development of American soccer, it’s not surprising that we react with little man’s complex. Always have, and probably always will.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to El Muneco
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      says:

      Some ten years ago or so I decided my early baseball research required that I learn something about cricket. Book learning can only take you so far, so I started showing up at local amateur cricket matches. There is an active league in my region. You can take your pick of Indian, Pakistani, or West Indies clubs. They would be quite startled when I showed up, and even more so after I opened my mouth and spoke, proving that I wasn’t a stray Australian or Englishman. One time they assumed that I must be there to preach at them about how baseball is better than cricket, and they went straight into the rebuttal. We eventually got this sorted out, establishing that I had no interest in converting them to baseball but rather was trying to broaden my horizons. Matters were quite amicable after that. They even shared their tasty sub-continental snacks.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Hell, we still love the myth of the lone genius inventor today. We’re perhaps a bit more willing to admit that this singular personality has assistance from others, but we want to invest people like Steve Jobs, James Dyson, and Elon Musk with singular personal brilliance responsible for revolutionary products. Which are neither revolutionary so much as they are incremental improvements on other stuff, and not the product of a singlular mind as a large team of debatably well-managed engineers.Report

  3. Avatar Fortytwo
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    says:

    Thanks so much for posting these stories. I’ve enjoyed them so very much. Please post when you have a book out. And +1 to what Burt said.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    English cricket culture, which made a clear distinction between “gentlemen” (amateurs, from the gentry class) and “players” (professionals, from the working class).

    A. J. Raffles was a gentleman cricketer. He had no wealth, and was unwilling to lose face by becoming a player, which is why he turned to crime.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      W. G. Grace was a “gentleman” who earned far more from playing cricket than did the working class professionals. The scam was pretty straightforward. A gentleman could not be payed to play, but he could be reimbursed for “expenses” without any vulgar bother with documenting said expenses. You can fill in the rest easily enough.Report

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