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ERIC Number: EJ846791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1195-4353
Baseball and Canadian Identity
Humber, William
College Quarterly, v8 n3 Sum 2005
Baseball research generally acts as a window into the game--a means as it were to understand its underlying order and disorder, its hidden beauty and historic complexity. Less common is the view from the other side of the window in which the patterns of the game are a lens as it were into the outside world, a channel for making sense of a sometimes cruel but always intriguing place. The view looking out is less common though its outline can be sketched in Franklin Foer's recent analysis of globalization from the perspective of soccer in "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization," and many years ago by C.L.R. James's "Beyond a Boundary," on the impact of colonization in his home country of Trinidad and himself as understood through the game of cricket. Likewise baseball provides a revealing portrait of the perplexing nature of Canadian identity, in what poet Donald Hall has called "the country of baseball." In this article, the author argues that the issue of baseball's relation to a Canadian national identity goes much deeper than handy knee-jerk reactions to apparent incursions of American culture. He discusses the folkloric origins of baseball and its transition before the Civil War from an informal, folk game to one characterized by the adoption of semi-formalized though regionally differentiated rules and play. The author stresses that the ubiquitous place of baseball in the Canadian landscape is revealed in all parts of the country and each in turn reveals pieces of the Canadian identity. The author presents a story of Jackie Robinson which serves as a fine representation of a Canadian search for a national identity, in its early demonstration of that illusive spirit of egalitarian respect for other cultures.
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. 1750 Finch Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M2J 2X5, Canada. Tel: 416-491-5050; Fax: 905-479-4561; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada