Hard Times and Baseball

Baseball is known as "America's Pastime". But beyond the cliché, there's something truly special about this game and its connection to the hearts of Americans. In the history of the United States, if you can think of a hard time - more often than not, baseball was there to lift people's spirits and bring people together.


Here's just a few examples:


1. The Civil War

This was the bloodiest war in American history. Over 618,000 died. The country was beyond divided. 11 states seceded from the Union. Modern medicine was not understood yet, the scene was horrific. But in the midst of it - baseball was there. Soldiers on both sides played the game in their spare time. Officers and enlisted men played side by side. Letters that have been saved from the time period show men writing their wives and retelling their games instead of the battles. In that moment, they were able to forget the hell they were in, and have something to write home about.


2. The Great Depression & World War II

Ever heard of Babe Ruth? Lou Gehrig? Joe DiMaggio? In a time of uncertainty and great loss, these were just a few of the guys that the country turned to for just a few hours a day to bring a smile and hope. A sense of normalcy. Something to identify with. Their names go down in history as baseball legends. Their name recognition by those who don't even know baseball says it all. Those seasons of baseball hold a special place in American history.

3. September 11, 2001

This set of deadly attacks on American soil by Islamic terrorist groups shocked the country. Nobody knew what was going on as the story unfolded that fateful morning. New York City experienced great loss as thousands were killed when the Twin Towers fell. The whole country was deeply affected by this tragedy. As people looked for hope and comfort, they reached out to their neighbors, they filled their church's and for New York...not far behind was baseball. As people tried to put their life together, Yankee players were out in their community and at Ground Zero talking to people and hugging people. Giving people something to smile about. The New York Yankees went to the World Series that fall and President George Bush threw out the opening pitch to a stadium filled with American flags and people chanting "U.S.A.". The President stood tall on the mound and threw a perfect strike - it was an iconic moment in American history.


4. Hurricane Harvey

Harvey devastated Houston with torrential flooding. The National Weather Service records Harvey as being the wettest tropical cyclone in the history of the United States. On top of that - Harvey is tied with Katrina as being the most costly hurricane in the history of the United States. Thousands of people lost everything and tens of thousands of people had been killed. Street after street was lined with mountains of debris - a stark reality of what Harvey had done. August 2017 - Houston needed a lift. The Houston Astros delivered. Their stated goal [much like that of baseball players from 75 years ago]: give people something to smile about for just a few hours each game day. And they did. People who don't even like baseball rallied around the team and watched with great excitement as their hometown team made history and won their first world series.


Say what you will about the speed of the game, but baseball is something uniquely special. It's like your Momma's spaghetti...when you need something to smile about you know where to go.


#baseball #americaspastime #WWII #GreatDepression #CivilWar #September11 #hurricaneharvey #BabeRuth #history #historylover #harvey

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