Baseball in America – May 2014 Immersion
Gary R. Shaw, Professor of Music
Baseball in America will study the development of the game as it influences the history and culture of the United States. Baseball is a uniquely American game that began in the mid 1800’s and has become a national pastime. The class will look closely at the history of the game and focus on specific issues that have affected American life. We will discuss the integration of baseball in 1947 when Jackie Robinson became the first African American allowed to play in the major leagues, the famous “Black Sox Scandal of 1920, and the recent surge of international players.
From its inception baseball has had its episodes of misconduct and cheating, drug abuse and misuse, and more recently gross commercialism and greed. We will reflect on and discuss whether or not these flaws have spoiled the integrity of the game. Baseball players influence young athletes and children by their actions on and off the field. They are, in fact, role models for many segments of the population. Ticket prices and commercialism at the ballpark have altered the way fans are able to participate. You may begin to question whether the game has lost its appeal and accessibility to the general public, but we will also examine the many positive contributions of baseball’s inspiring and gifted athletes who continue to impress us through their work ethic and commitment to teamwork.
*Class will travel to Peoria on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 to attend Peoria Chiefs Single A Minor League game and interview players. Cost per ticket - $10, plus food. Transportation provided.
Text: Baseball: An Illustrated History, Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns; Updated Edition, September 12, 2010.