One of the reasons so many fans are so incredibly passionate about baseball is the history. There are constantly questions of where a person, a team, a game, a series ranks in history. There are more books about baseball history in some form or another than probably all the other major American sports combined. They are better, too. There are myriad reasons for this. For one, baseball writing has always been lyrical. For another, since individual accomplishments are so much easier to recognize in baseball than other team sports, it is easy to become a passionate fan and follow the player’s career. For a third – and when discussing serious history, probably the most important – baseball is deeply embedded in the fabric of American social and cultural life. There is a reason the steroids scandal hit baseball so much harder than the NFL.
There is quite simply a stronger emotional attachment to baseball. Jackie Robinson’s arrival in the major leagues is still considered a pivotal moment in American racial history. It certainly gets mentioned more often than, say, the integration of the armed forces during World War Two. While there are some idioms and metaphors borrowed from basketball and football, there are many more from baseball. Americans have turned to baseball to ease their sufferings one national crisis after another. Some think we are too cynical to still fall for that, but does anybody not believe that the 2001 World Series did not help New York recover from 9/11 that much faster?