Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Book review: How baseball will survive in the age of distraction

| Apr. 26, 2018

When avid fans describe their love of baseball — and here I include myself, as well as Susan Jacoby, the author of “Why Baseball Matters” — we do so with a kind of reverence that, while wholly sincere, can often sound ridiculous.

I associate my deep attachment with immigrating to the United States from Dublin in 1979 and landing in Pittsburgh on the eve of the Willie Stargell-led Pirates’ glorious playoff run. As I practiced an American accent in the mirror, I quickly understood the currency I would acquire if I could rattle off RBI, ERA and batting average statistics with the speed of the boys who lived on our block. Play ball!

As I grew up and, in my 20s and 30s, spent thousands and thousands of hours listening to or watching baseball games, I developed a more multidimensional rationalization for my passion. I described all the life lessons that baseball teaches: the importance of resilience in a game where the best hitters on Earth sit back down dejected 60 percent of the time; the centrality of teamwork and solidarity over individual feats, as playing on a winning team requires moving a runner over, hitting a cut-off man and calling the right pitch for one’s battery mate; and the necessity (I made this argument even before Bill James and Billy Beane helped revolutionize baseball’s front offices) of mastering data and history to make sensible judgments.

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For Academic Citation: Power, Samantha.“Book review: How baseball will survive in the age of distraction.” The Washington Post, April 26, 2018.

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