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October 5, 2012

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CHICKASHA — Baseball is true testament to what sports should be - James

Baseball is America. It's that simple.

It's a game that has survived the test of time. There are still professional teams active today that came into existence in the mid 19th century. The oldest professional football team came into existence in 1898. Baseball is a game of chess actively played out in stadiums that are cathedral like in stature.

Unlike the other person involved in this little forum I'm not going to spend this space putting down football. I love football, but I find baseball to be a far more engaging sport.

Over the course of six months 162 games are played out at the professional level. This is downright grueling. It takes a true athlete to crouch behind a plate and get in front of 100 mph fastballs, sliders that break two feet across the plate and curveballs that appear to fall off a table at the last minute. This says nothing of fall tips, collisions and bats to the face mask that are also apart of a catchers day-to-day life. Sure, catchers aren't going to play all 162 games, but most will play at least 120 and there is no questioning the manly nature involved in putting one's body through that amount of punishment.

But forget the professionals. Let's look at the family unit and it has grown along with the institution of baseball. Almost every family has some sort of softball or baseball game at large events. It's usually the highlight of a reunion. The sport connects people in a way that few other things can. It's athletic, easy to pick up and good clean fun.

Finally there is baseball in the media. There are droves of films dedicated to this sport. Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Major League and most recently Money Ball all display multiple sides of this great game. It is a common topic for writers outside of the journalism industry. The simple fact is baseball is poetic in nature. An old catcher who never made it big teaching a rookie pitcher whose arm is a lighting bolt is an incredible impetus for a story. No other sport can provide this.

In the end, baseball is a slower game than football. It's methodical and requires commitment to understand decisions made across the board. But when someone does commit, he or she will be locked in for life as will their offspring.

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