Baseball - is that like basketball?

If football is our national sport here in the UK; and as a dyed in the wool supporter of Manchester United I certainly wouldn't dispute that fact; baseball just has to be the national sport of the United States. What is baseball? Well, like cricket one team is in to bat and one is out to field; and the idea of the batter is to smack at the ball and run round the circuit before any fielder can get hold of it; the team that managers to complete the maximum number of runs is the winner. Well, that's it then. It's just another form of cricket without white togs and a willow bat, then isn't it! Just don't try telling an American that!

Any true American will tell you that baseball is America's national game, and that it owes nothing whatsoever to games of other countries even though it does have a sneaking resemblance to the rounders that I used to play in the school playground and which was invented in England hundreds of years ago, as well as boring cricket which I used to consider to be a sport before I was introduced to real English football. Americans however feel just the same way about baseball as we do about football (or soccer as they call it), it is one of their main subjects of conversation, they dream about it, revere the principal players, argue over it, sometimes fight over it and to many of them the success or failure of their local team is one of the most important factors that decide whether their lives are happy and successful or not. Indeed, when back in the 1930s and the depression was at its height a National Baseball Museum containing the bats and balls and other paraphernalia of the heroes of old became almost a national shrine and has since received millions of visitors.

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This did not always meet with universal approval in the United States; many people who consider themselves as being a little bit better than the rest of their fellow men looked down upon it as a rowdy support which encouraged drinking gambling and all manner of vices amongst the so-called lower classes! As in football however baseball was a pretty classless society and through it many people who came from impoverished backgrounds were able to rise up both economic late and socially because of their prowess at the sport; a process that, again similar to football, is viewed by many people as having gone too far with astronomical wages being paid to top players.

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