More than a Game.
"He who would know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball," observed culturist Jacques Barzun. To look at baseball and other sports to see how they wove themselves into the fabric of American life in that crazy time when the baby boomers were growing up is more than an exercise in nostalgia. It reveals an important aspect of the American character and suggests the seriousness of sports to Americans—the extent to which spectators involve themselves in sporting contests, and the way in which sports become, for the enthusiast, a metaphor for life.
Land of Confusion.
The 1950s exploded in a display of cultural expression. During the 1950s almost all sports became desegregated; several sports endured scandals; the standards of professionals were imposed on amateurs and even children; antitrust exemptions were challenged; franchises moved with the population to the West Coast; new sports challenged old for an audience; and, most important, sports and television discovered they were made for each other.
At the beginning of the decade the most significant sports in American life were Major League Baseball and intercollegiate football. By the end of the decade the National Football League (NFL) dominated the airways in the fall, the...
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