We Hold These Truths….

Share

From July 4, 2012.

Today, on the Fourth of July, it is time to discuss what makes America so great.  It is so obvious, and so terribly American that it isn’t even alleged or arguable.  Other nations have democracy, and freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc.  Fact is, our basic idea of freedom came, not from here, but from Across the Pond – the Magna Carta. Then there was the Declaration of Arborath, the British Constitution, the various laws about courts and trial by jury created by Henry II. We basically are who we are because of England. You might want to argue about it, but first, read up on your history, especially your medieval history.

Stoolball, which is probably the origin of baseball, was played in the 11th century in England!  It is now considered the original version of baseball, cricket, and rounders.   In other words, baseball predates the Conquest!  Got that football fans? Baseball is older than Norman England, older than the Tower of London, and older than Richard the Lionheart.  It was there before the Magna Carta.  It was there before Henry II began writing his constitution. It was there before Thomas a’ Becket bought the farm. It was there before Robin Hood, Henry VIII, and Jane Austen!

William Pagula, in a poem authored in 1330, stated that priests did not like a version of baseball being played in churchyards. Anglican Bishop, Thomas Wilson, disapproved of  baseball and cricket being played on Sunday – in 1672.  It was that version of baseball that was being played in the Colonies!  In 1744, baseball was mentioned as a children’s game.   In 1748, the family of Frederick, Prince of Wales played a game of baseball.  On Easter Monday, 1755 a game of baseball was played in Guildford, Surry.

In Northanger Abbey, Katherine Morland was described as preferring cricket, baseball, riding on horseback and running!

The one constant through all the year has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.

Those classic lines from Field of Dreams expresses everything the lover of baseball believes.  Oh, sure, you can get technical and allege that the Great American Pastime may have evolved from Rounders, which has been played in England since the Tudors, but there was the Massachusetts Game, that sure looks a heck like modern baseball – and basically died when the Knickerbacker Rules were codified in 1845 by Alexander Cartwright.

“…Cartwright was a bookseller and volunteer firefighter in Manhattan. He led the establishment of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club (after the Knickerbocker Fire Engine Company) in 1842. The Knickerbockers played a brand of stick-and-ball game called town ball on a field at 4th Avenue and 27th Streets…”

Perhaps the most important part of the fall of the Massachusetts Game to the Knickerbacker Rules…. well, you figure it out.  If you are a baseball fan, you can see the handwriting on the wall.  If you are basically one of those treasonous Americans who don’t like baseball, well, let me put it succinctly Red Sox (Boston) Yankees (New York).  If you can’t go beyond that, you are utterly and completely hopeless, and only have enough gray matter in your brain to comprehend the brutally obscene game of football.

(It is at this point that The Pink Flamingo must also interject that it is also possible that baseball may have evolved from Cricket, which has been played in England since the 1500s.  There was a game played by Prince Edward, son of Edward I (Longshanks) in Kent in 1301 that may or may not have been a version of Cricket. (It is at this point there are those who can go all William Wallace, but we’re not talking about THAT, right now.)

The first shot of the Civil War was fired by Abner Doubleday at Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861. Allegedly, in 1839 he “invented” baseball in Elihu Phinney’s cow pasture in Cooperstown. Unfortunately that story has been debunked.  The first documented game between two real baseball clubs was on June 19, 1846 at Elysian Fields in Hoboken. The Knickerbackers lost to the New York Nine by a score of 23-1, in a precursor of things to come, when the New York Mets first took the field in 1962.

But…. George Thompson discovered that in in 1823 a game was played in New York.

BUT….

 John Thorn discovered a reference that in 1791, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, there was a “broken window” ordnance that specifically mentions the game of baseball.  This brings us back to the founding of our nation.  In only 15 years after this…

Adams:
It’s a masterpiece, I say!
They will cheer every word, every letter

Jefferson:
I wish I felt that way

Franklin:
I believe I can put it better
Now then attend, as friend to friend
On our Declaration Committee
For us I see immortality

All:
In Philadelphia City

Franklin:
A farmer, a lawyer, and a sage
A bit gouty in the leg
You know it’s quite bizarre
To think that here we are
Playing midwives to an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
Of an eaglet being born
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone, let alone an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the scratch, scratch, scratch
Of that tiny little fellow
Waiting for the egg to hatch
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Adams:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone

Jefferson:
But will it hatch an egg?

Adams:
The eagle’s going to crack the shell
Of the egg that England laid

All:
Yes, so we can tell, tell, tell
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
And as just as Tom here has written
Though the egg may belong to Great Britain,
The eagle inside belongs to us!

All:
And as just as Tom here has written
We say to hell with Great Britain!
The eagle inside belongs to us!

…Just 15 years after this… Baseball was part of the American scene.   There are references that it was played at Valley Forge, so take that football.

All of this brings me to the original intention of this informative history of what really matters in this country.  Jon Bois penned a hilarious article about the trials and tribulations of a baseball lover being forced to explain the game to dimwits and idiots who don’t appreciate our Great American Pastime.  And, it is funny.  The Pink Flamingo admits to using almost every one of these arguments at one time or another.

And, yes, I have used this one, repeatedly.  I wax poetic about the sound of the crack of the bat, the green of the grass…

MLB.SBNation.com

To The Pink Flamingo, this is just plain funny… been there and done that.

MLB Sbnation

Yes, the following is The Pink Flamingo – anger, resentment, lashing out, and complaining about the stupidity of football.  Have I mentioned that I ABSOLUTELY DETEST FOOTBALL?

MLB SBNATION

Yep, that’s The Pink Flamingo….

So, today, when you hear the words of our national anthem being sung, always remember, the final two words…PLAY BALL!

And – just ask yourself one little question:  Do they play football on the Fourth of July?

I don’t think so.

 

Share

2 thoughts on “We Hold These Truths….

Comments are closed.