Is it Really America's Past Time?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a book I've been reading, called Faster. I'm only halfway through it at this point. I suppose it's ironic that I haven't had the time to finish it yet, but that discussion would seem a bit trite.

In discussing the concept of the pause, an how unnatural it is for many people, the author states:

It is characteristic of baseball that in a "perfect" game, no one gets anywhere.

It is so simple. The best pitchers allow nothing to happen.

With the focus our country seems to have on going faster, being stronger, accomplishing more, going further, and generally pushing the boundaries, the quintessential American sport is about doing nothing.

Is that why we see the stories about steroids in the game? People pushing for more hits and homeruns? Is that why we here stories of owners making sure home field is a "hitters park"? All these things which seem to increase excitement in the game, are directly aimed at making sure there isn't a "perfect" game. People may go to a game to see hits, but does anyone leave disappointed when they see that rare "perfect" game?

Basketball and Hockey are all about speed and constant motion. But they are the third and fourth most popular sports, after Baseball and Football.

Football itself is another plodding game. While a shut out isn't referred to as a perfect game, it nonetheless appears to conflict with the normal pace of the modern American lifestyle. Football in many cases is about careful strategy and planning. It's about taking an action and then stopping and evaluating that action. It's about taking careful steps to the ultimate goal. From the defensive side, it's about holding back the competition. Just try to the stop them. Then, when you succeed, bring in your planners.

It seems like a very methodical approach that is far from the way many business and organizations operate.

So why is baseball so popular? Why is the "nothingness" of the perfect game so honored?

Perhaps it is a safety valve for the culture. Sort of a pressure release. Perhaps it is some simplified concept of nothingness that is though provoking.

Or maybe it's that with a baseball game, for 3-4 hours, a fan can simply stop and enjoy.

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