Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

For all the talk of American “imperialism” or “hegemony” from a militaristic aspect it’s interesting to observe the American cultural fabric embraced in a fashion that might well carry a stronger, lingering influence than that born of rifle or bomb. From commercial influence in the form of various commodities (Coca-Cola, Levi) to popular culture (movies, music) to sports (cricket… er no, not even slightly. Football… No we use an oval shaped ball with very different rules. Baseball… Ah!)

Can baseball make it in Israel? By: Israel Insider staff and partners Published: February 26, 2007 Former New York Yankee Ron Blomberg is coming to Israel to help bring the classic all-American pastime to the Holy Land.

The Israeli baseball league will be formally launched at a press conference in New York on Monday evening. In addition to Blomberg, former professional Jewish players Ken Holtzman and Art Shamsky will also come to Israel to manage three of the league's six teams. The league will begin play in June.

Blomberg has never been to Israel before, having turned down an invitation in the 1970s by Moshe Dayan and then Prime Minister Golda Meir due to regional instability.

Speaking on the phone from his Atlanta home, Blomberg said he was excited to "go over there and meet my fellow Jews. I'm a proud Jew and a proud American. I think it's wonderful that I have been chosen in my later years to go there and bring the game of baseball to the Israeli people[…]

In the baseball world we’ve farmed Aruba (Sydney Ponson,) Canada (Eric Gagne,) Columbia (Edgar Renteria,) Cuba (El Duque,) Curacao (Andruw Jones,) Dominican Republic (Vlad Guerrero,) Guam (John Hattig,) Japan (Iiiiichiro!) Mexico (Vinny Castilla,) Nicaragua (Vicente Padilla,) Panama (Carlos Lee,) Puerto Rico (Ivan Rodriguez,) Korea (Chan Ho Park,) Taiwan (Chien Ming Wang) and Venezuela (Maggie Ordonez) to form our American past time.

For all the political discord our world brings, baseball remains happily strident in it’s ability to toss aside cultural/political differences and focus on a common goal in the name of a basically simple game. And we watch. And we, for a time, forget. And it is good.

I look forward to April.


aelkus said...

I think it's likely that we'll see American cultural products around long after we lose superpower status. Even anti-American movies, like Turkey's Valley of the Wolves Iraq, are merely pirated rehashes of American cinematic tropes.

Jay@Soob said...

long after we lose superpower status.

Given the lessons of history this seems a when rather than if scenario. I wonder what the global situation would have to entail (short the obvious global catastrophe of, say, a particularly large meteor) to bring about such. Certainly this vision (short of some rather shallow assertions born of sensationalists)is hard to imagine. And yet history nearly assures it. Can (or has) America evolved beyond the cold, cyclical grasp of history?

aelkus said...

Whatever the event is, it's probably beyond our knowledge. However, I don't think that America has evolved past a cylical rise and fall.

G said...

Arn't sports brilliant [1].

Great for entertainment and bringing people together but also highly underrated as a form of personal education and enlightenment. That enlightenment coming from the process of athletic hardship and going into the "zone" after overcoming great odds and then reflecting on that performance. Or as some humanist psychologists called it: "peak experiences".

I always thought it'd be interesting to marry up the traditionally opposed worlds of scholarship and sports to create scholar-sportsmen/women who strived for high performance in the physical, mental, and emotional domains of their chosen sport that transferred to other areas of life.

Whilst in the Army I always thought of soldiering as a form of athletic performance. Imagine being peaked trained in quick visual detection, reaction skills, combined with the agility of a gymnast, and the speed of a sprinter. Then combine that with the bloodthirstyness of the boxer Mike Tyson's mindset. Tyson was found by some reporter jogging at 4am in the morning for a fight and the reporter asked him "What are you doing up at this ungodly hour?" and he goes "because I know my opponent is asleep".


1. I sound like that fast show sketch.

Arn't footnotes brilliant? They 'av numbers with additional information and that. Fantastic.

G said...

I should mention that I never trained to such a Bruce Wayne level of intenseness.

But I liked to think raw atheleticism and smarts were the makings of true future warriors rather than wearing 5kg helmets with every technological attachment known to man hanging off it.