• Baseball! not Faceball!

      Baseball is not America's favorite pastime. Being in a baseball stadium may be Americas favorite pastime. Off course, with no game clock, a rarity that baseball shares with its cousin cricket, there is ample opportunity for singing a song from 1908, or drink beer and eat hot dogs. Hot dogs were introduced in baseball by Chris von der Ahe, owner of the St. Louis Brown Stockings (now the St. Louis Cardinals). Von der Ahe was somewhat of an eccentric: just outside Sportman's Park he had a larger than live statue erected. Of himself. Considering the nature of baseball, he concluded that people do not go to baseball for the baseball alone. Thus he lowered the admission to a league wide low $0.25, hoping (correctly) to make more profit on the sale of beer and... hotdogs. His sport park was often considered more an amusement park than sports arena by journalist who jokingly liked to call it "Coney Island West", after the New York beach front amusement area. Which is where, about 20 years earlier (ca . 1870) Charles Feltman, a German immigrant like von der Ahe, introduced hotdogs to the United States. By then, Coney Island was the recreational area of the greater New York region. Coney Island got it's name from the dutch word "konijn", meaning rabbit. More traces of dutch history remain in NY, even in the very American sport of  baseball. The uniform colors of the New York Mets are blue, white and orange, the official colors of the city of NY, and of the (old version of) the Dutch national flag.

      Baseball is the only sport (pastime?), were the coaches were the same uniform as the players do. Responsible for this singular position that baseball has among other sports are the New York Knickerbockers, one of the first clubs and known for writing the first version of the rules of baseball. The Knickerbockers are named after Diedrich Knickerbocker, the pseudonym that Washington Irving used for writing the hugely popular, but very inaccurate, “History of New York”. Knickerbockers, or Knicks, soon became synonymous with New York and New Yorkers in general and nowadays can refer to both underwear and a NBA team. Irving not only popularized the myth that people in the middle ages believed the earth was flat, he is also responsible for creating the story of Sleepy Hollow and introducing the name Gotham for New York, both vitally important to the career of Tim Burton.

      Gotham city (the fictional version) is, to my knowledge (and this map) the only American metropolis without a baseball team. It is also the only city full of masked, psychotic criminals. Maybe Americans favorite pastime would help them to relax a bit. Have a beer, a hotdog, sing an old song: chill out. Because despite all the off-field traditions and the weird uniforms, that is what baseball is most of all: relaxing to watch. Baseball: America's favorite therapy. Unless it's a perfect game, that is just boring.