Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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I’ve heard a lot of radio hosts (read Colin Cowherd) talk about how baseball is no longer America’s pastime, claiming that football has taken hold of the country’s focus. Given the strong presence of the NFL and college football in our everyday lives, it’s awfully hard to disagree with that claim. But if everything were based upon looks alone, you would think that there are only about 20,000 Tribe fans in Ohio, they’re all over 50, and they all live in Mansfield. (Come on people…you’re allowed to laugh at that one)
Let’s examine this concept of America’s pastime for a moment. According to Merriam-Webster, a pastime is something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably. Baseball certainly still fills that role very well for many a sports fan in this country. At the same time, for several reasons, baseball is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Now let’s look at the definition of a national pastime. Wikipedia (yes, yes…I know) claims that a national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Baseball is certainly still very much a large symbol of American culture and history. Think about it, even the smallest of towns in this country have at least one baseball field, where little leaguers play the same game that their heroes play on television.
For something to be given the distinction of America’s pastime, I think a certain extra expectation comes along with the title. In this discussion we are looking for the singular defining pastime of this country and whether or not baseball still has that market cornered.
Personally, I don’t feel like baseball really corners the market any longer. However, that is not to say that it doesn’t still claim a large piece of the pie. It just seems to me that other sports have stepped up to claim their own corners of the market, professional football included.
It seems to me that three major sports are vying for the crown of America’s pastime. Major League Baseball, NCAA Football, and the National Football League all seem to claim somewhat equal shares of America’s attention right now. Baseball isn’t as lost on American culture as it seems and pro football isn’t quite as dominant as ESPN would have you to believe. College football seems to be the biggest right now, but it seems to be somewhat of a dark horse.
My opinion is certainly not an expert one. I want to know what you all have to say on the subject. What sport do you think is America’s pastime? State your case in the comments section below. Best ones will appear in a later post, and possibly in a future podcast.