Politics

The conservative love affair with baseball

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

As the threat of terrorism looms, the economy deteriorates, and the culture flounders, one thing remains a constant in America: there will be baseball.

It is true that football long ago surpassed baseball as the nation’s most popular sport, but Alexander Cartwright’s much beloved brainchild remains America’s pastime and purportedly the favorite sport of many conservative intellectuals.

Inherently American and merit-based, baseball and conservatism appear to share as tight an embrace as Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson after game seven of the 1955 World Series. “It has no clock, no ties and no Liberal intrusions into the organized progression,” conservative columnist and baseball enthusiast George Will once wrote.

The Daily Caller recently talked to a number of conservative writers who consider themselves serious baseball fans to explain their love of the game and better understand what draws the conservative mind to the sport.

Fred Schwarz, of the National Review, theorizes that a major reason the game appeals to the conservative psyche is that it does not change. Where football and basketball have altered some of their rules over time to increase the intensity of their games, the distance from home plate to first base will always be ninety feet and a foul ball will always be a foul ball.

“[B]aseball has more of a laws-and-not-men vibe, in the sense that penalties or fouls or violations called by officials play a much smaller role in baseball than they do in football, basketball, or hockey (balks are the only thing that springs to mind),” Schwarz told The Daily Caller. “Among other things, this leaves less room for administrative overrides of the basic rules, such as allowing the top players four or five steps before taking a shot in the NBA. And statistics provide a more complete description of the game in baseball than they do in other sports, which appeals to the Charles Murray types.”

According to conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, conservatives love baseball because “it is so damn slow.” He said that the image of baseball as the game of conservatives is, however, half reality, half imagery.

“Bill Buckley once said his mission in life was to stop the world. Well, modern conservatives don’t want to stop it, they just want to slow it down and the perfect model is baseball. To be more serious about it, I don’t know why baseball seems to go with conservatism, I don’t even know…[if] it is entirely true,” Krauthammer told TheDC, noting that liberals such as Doris Kearns Goodwin and Roger Angell also enjoy the game. “It could be the fact that George Will and I are spotted much too often at Nationals’ Park.”

To say Krauthammer is merely a fan is to say Willie Mays only made an okay catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.

  • wwew

    conservatives love baseball because the rich usually win, like real life only more boring.

  • mr_uptempo

    Baseball is a bastion of conservatism? Hmmm. Let’s see.

    -MLB owners crying poor-mouth (quite often used as an excuse for not fielding competitive teams) while actually pocketing boatloads of cash? Check.

    -MLB owners holding up municipalities to finance boondoggles (stadia) and tax breaks, all under the guise of “job creation”? Check.

    -MLB owners whining for, and getting, an antitrust exemption, to completely lock out any possible competitors? Check.

    -An organization (MLB) that maintained a “gentlemen’s agreement”, refusing the inclusion of African Americans into their ranks, until most clubs were dragged, kicking and screaming, into finally let them play? Check.

    -An organization (MLB) that maintained the reserve clause (making players merely chattel, to be used as owners desired) until the mid 70′s, when it was legally denied from using it anymore? Check.

    -An organization (MLB) that was found guilty, on several occasions, of collusion, in an attempt to illegally hold down player salaries? Check.

    So, what do we have? Greedy. Dishonest. Racist. Anti-competitive. Anti-labor. Anti-free will. Anti-fair play.

    You’re right! Now I see why conservatives have would feel that baseball is their sport.

    Actually, as a liberal, I enjoy baseball immensely. In its purest form, I especially enjoy how a group of strong, talented individuals band together, as a team, to accomplish a goal. THAT is a liberal virtue.

    It seems the only thing conservatives like about baseball is how it can be twisted to turn a buck.

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