Levine: You never forget your first pennant

From SABR member Larry Levine at SmokyJoeWood.com on July 21, 2014:

“You were born and raised in the Bronx and you’re a Red Sox fan? What’s up with that?” This question was posed to me every semester during the decade in which I taught the History of Baseball course which I developed at Quinnipiac University. It was a welcome question because it provided the opportunity to reinforce one of the basic thrusts of the course which is that you can’t fully appreciate the present without some understanding of what preceded it, or as Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past”.

I would carefully explain that once upon a time there were three Major league teams in New York. Those of a somewhat superior upbringing and stronger intellect tended to favor either the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Giants (as I did). The benighted remainder followed the American League entry. Alas, I continued, both the Dodgers and Giants left for California following the 1957 season. As it happened, I too, went off to graduate school at precisely the same time. Given the yet to be developed state of communication technology, it was impossible to follow the fortunes of my team and so when I returned to this area, I was without a serious rooting interest. All was not lost, however, when it became apparent that there was a team which mirrored the Giants closely and whose fans shared my animus toward that remaining New York team. The Red Sox made me feel at home. As the leprechaun in Finian’s Rainbow proclaimed, “When I’m not near the girl I love, I love the girl I’m near.”

I hereby confess that the Baseball course served a subversive purpose. Today’s college students are bright, creative, and energetic but their principal flaw is their absolute disdain for the study of history. They abhor it. For many, history began when they first became aware of a world outside themselves which for this year’s incoming freshmen is about the year 2000. Anything prior to that is essentially irrelevant. By attaching the development of Baseball to the major events and issues in American history, the hope was that a greater appreciation for the latter might blossom. I’m vain enough to think that it worked.

Read the full article here: http://smokyjoewood.com/2014/07/22/larry-levine-you-never-forget-your-first-pennant/

  • Related link: Check out the SABR Connecticut Smoky Joe Wood Chapter’s new website at SmokyJoeWood.com.

Originally published: July 21, 2014. Last Updated: July 21, 2014.