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Re: weekend schedule

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  • Peter Morris
    I m going to have to respectfully disagree with some of Doug s analysis. There s long been conflict about how inclusive baseball should be, but there s no
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 1, 2006
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      I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with some of Doug's
      analysis. There's long been conflict about how inclusive baseball
      should be, but there's no question that it was primarily a
      gentlemen's game during the 1850s and 1860s (the era when it
      coalesced into a sport by acquiring such basic features as nine
      innings, nine players per side, three outs per inning, and tags and
      forces for outs instead of throwing the ball at runners). And
      collegians played a huge role in popularizing the newly standardized
      version of baseball during these years. Students returning from
      colleges and boarding schools were responsible for forming the first
      organized "regulation" clubs in such midwestern cities as Fort Wayne,
      Kalamazoo, Decatur, Cincinnati and St. Louis. They were also darned
      good at it; despite not having formal varsity clubs, in 1867, a nine
      from Beloit College beat Wisconsin's top club while one from the
      University of Michigan beat that state's champion nine.

      Baseball became still more popular in colleges during the 1870s and
      1880s, when the first formal varsity clubs were formed. All of the
      large eastern colleges and most midwestern ones had prominent nines
      and they became a large part of college life. Stephen Crane, for
      instance, attended Lafayette College and Syracuse and spent much of
      his time trying to make their respective varsity teams. He would have
      done so, except for the little matter of having to attend and pass
      his classes. Fortunately, by then, his writing career had started to

      By contrast, during these years, football was just getting
      established and basketball hadn't even been invented. So why have
      those two sports been so much more successful at the college level?
      The biggest reason, I believe, is the simple one that baseball is a
      summer sport that isn't well suited to the college schedule. Another
      important consideration, as Doug suggested, is that when baseball was
      most popular at the college level it was a fast-paced sport,
      especially by comparison to alternatives such as cricket. In the
      years since, faster-paced rivals have emerged while baseball has
      slowly but surely become a leisurely activity, limiting its appeal to
      college students (particularly when played in nippy midwestern spring
      weather). And I would also agree with Doug that the fact that
      baseball has well-established farm systems is another salient factor.

      Peter Morris

      --- In bigtenvb@yahoogroups.com, Doug ONeal <tycho2brahe@...> wrote:
      > <<The question of 'Professionalism' in sports is critically
      important to the credibility of programs in educational institutions.
      Football and basketball college programs have become "Farm teams" for
      the professional leagues. If the educational program is meant to
      further careers in professional sports then as in the farm team
      participants in baseball a 'salary' is reasonable.>>
      > And this issue, of course, is all because MLB has a well-
      developed farm system, while the NBA and NFL don't. I'm sure college
      athletic directors wouldn't want to change this, since basketball and
      football bring in the huge bucks, while baseball doesn't.
      > There's a good historical reason why this situation arose:
      baseball was originally a working man's sport, all the way from its
      origins in England where similar games were played by the working
      classes as an alternative to the cricket of the upper classes --
      people who only had two hours to play their game rather than five
      days. Football and basketball, though, developed in this country as
      sports of gentlemen and educated people, thus they got into the
      colleges and universities earlier and/or more firmly than did
      baseball. Then (as I say) the colleges didn't want to mess with the
      system that developed because it earned money, and the pros saw the
      opportunity to use what already existed without paying for their own
      farm system, so it became firmly entrenched that way.
      > And in our current society, I don't see it changing any time
      soon. I would, though, have a BIG problem with paying a football or
      (just men's?) basketball player but not the guy on the lacrosse team
      who works equally hard at his sport.
      > Doug
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