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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Take me out to the distinctly American ball game

  • Americans dub a lot of things just that: “American” — some of which have me scratching my head.
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  • Americans dub a lot of things just that: "American" — some of which have me scratching my head. Summer barbecue, for instance. People across the U.S. think of a hot day with steaks on the grill, a pool in sight and backyard washers as distinctly "American" — as if people in other countries never eat outside.
    How about cowboys and cattle drives? Imagery here conjures up an amazingly "American" feel: except the fact that equally impressive cattle drives exist in Australia and South America.
    Gun ownership. Alright, it's true Americans own more guns per 100 people than anywhere else in the world, but come on, guns aren't unique to the U.S. so let's stop calling gun ownership patriotic or American.
    A lot of things erroneously receive the "American" title, but to me, nothing is as patriotic as a day at the ballpark.
    Growing up, I never paid much attention to sports. My physique didn't lend itself towards athletics, so I didn't have any particular reason to care about participating in sporting events. I'll admit it, I was a bandwagon fan. If my team did well, I went wild. If my team struggled, my world didn't end and I went on with my life.
    Over the last few years though, my interest in sports has grown. Nowadays, I'm pretty unabashed about my St. Louis Cardinals fandom.
    Over the weekend, I attended a Cardinals game with a friend and watched the birds wallop the Milwaukee Brewers 8-0. Under mostly clear skies, I clapped, cheered, whooped and hollered (notably during a seven-run effort in the sixth inning) my team to victory.
    Historically a baseball-loving town, a game at the beautiful Busch Stadium exemplifies the best of the game.
    At the game Saturday, every one of the seats supported a fan. Sadly, watching ESPN's Sports Center that night, I noticed a lack of spectators at almost every other stadium. Most disappointing to me, hopelessly empty front row seats watched the team at the Cleveland stadium.
    The fans at Busch stadium reveled in the wave following the energizing sixth-inning run, circling the stadium several times, also, apparently, impressing the television commentators from what I've been told.
    Credit the wave to the three drunk girls sitting in front of me, who tried for the better part of two innings to get the crowd going. That's the legacy of section 231.
    I left the game that day with a replica jersey — the prize for the first 25,000 spectators to enter the ballpark — a commemorative cup and the satisfaction of another redbirds victory.
    The origins of baseball date back hundreds of years and across continents, but an American, Alexander Cartwright, is credited with fathering the modern version of the game.
    Page 2 of 2 - A staple of the game, the iconic ballpark hot dog, was popularized just a few miles away from the current Busch Stadium at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
    A win at Busch Stadium triggers fanfare and fireworks — a staple of every Fourth of July celebration, the most American of holidays.
    Although the game as we know it officially started in America, a growing number of atheletes from other countries — Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, etc. — have joined the ranks of major league teams. This celebration in diversity also highlights the American-ness of the sport: inclusion.
    Beyond the histrionics, baseball games have the unique ability bring people of all races, creed, religion and age to enjoy a game officially made in America.
    Now that's distinctly American.
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