The Baltimore Orioles find themselves in Chicago this year on this Fourth of July – a great American city, I might add. Chicago of course is the home of deep dish pizza, the Sears Tower, Michael Jordan, and of course the ChiSox and Cubbies. (I recognize that Jordan is from North Carolina and so forth – but work with me, folks!)
Baseball has long had a synonomous relationship with Independence Day, as well of course as Memorial Day and Labor Day. Similar to the NFL with Thanksgiving, the holiday falls right in the midst of the season. The fact is that when we think of the Fourth of July, we think of the beach, hot dogs, fireworks…and baseball. Orioles baseball, in this case.
And I would submit that baseball takes advantage of it’s relationship with
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
holidays such as the Fourth of July in a positive manner. League-wide today we’re seeing teams wearing the patriotic uniforms, with red, white, and blue inlayed on their jerseys and caps. In some manner this is in fact a marketing scheme – it gets people to buy merchandise.
However DC news/talk station WTOP published this article yesterday about how our Stars and Stripes inspires intense feelings. Granted, those feelings aren’t always necessarily positive, even among our own citizenry. But I can tell you from my own experiences at my family’s ancestral home in Italy that we’re one of the only nations in the world that holds so much pride in our flag and our traditions. This is not to say that other nations aren’t “proud,” because they should be. But many don’t have the same pomp and circumstance that we do in various elements.
So perhaps it’s a marketing ploy worth having – the patriotic uniforms, that is. And the same is true with all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding Independence Day and everyday life in America. Granted we have so many different sports that keep us busy all year. However baseball is and always will be America’s pasttime. So it’s fitting that the annual celebration of our nation’s independence, chock full of our pomp, circumstance, and pride, falls in the middle of baseball season.
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Today across America, families and friends will gather for cookouts, at pools, beaches, and ballparks to celebrate our nation’s birthday. In a few minutes the O’s will take on the ChiSox on the south side of Chicago, and thus will join in that tradition for this year.
However one wants to celebrate this great holiday across our land is legitimate. But make no mistake about the fact that watching baseball, America’s pasttime, today is one of the best ways. The game itself is woven into the very fabrics of “Americana,” perhaps much more so than any other sport. It’s part of what we stand for as Americans, and is thus representative of the great land of the free and home of the brave.