Baseball Not For America: England's New Pasttime?

Cassie KoliasCorrespondent INovember 30, 2008

Baseball has always been America's pastime.

Nothing beats the feeling of a hot summer night at the ballpark.

With the smell of garlic fries and the sound of vendors yelling "peanuuuutsss," how could the atmosphere be anything but intoxicating?

It doesn't get much more American than seeing American flags flying in the Bay Area wind while the crowd stands with their hands over their hearts as the National Anthem is sung.

But England has to take everything from us Americans, don't they?

In September, the Associated Press reported that last year a diary was uncovered in southern England that dates back to 1755-which was about 50 years before the first known reference to America's pastime.

The diary found in England was that of William Bray, an English lawyer. He referenced playing when he was 18 or 19, with both men and women on a traditional English holiday.

The entry says, "Went to Stoke Ch. This morning. After Dinner Went to Miss Jeale's to play at Base Ball with her, the 3 Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Ford & H. Parsons & Jelly. Drank Tea and stayed till 8."

Sure, up until now, it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of baseball because it has evolved from English games such as cricket and another game played with a bat and ball called rounders. But it is hard to swallow that baseball is anything but American.

It isn't our pastime now.

So, the great American sport is now the great British sport. That makes me a little queasy. American needs a new pastime.

According to the Associated Press, before the English diary, the first known reference to baseball in America was found in a bylaw in Pittsfield, Mass.

The bylaw was to protect the windows of a new meetinghouse. It prohibited anyone from playing baseball within 80 yards of the new building. Before that, the known founder of baseball was Abner Doubleday, he was said to have written the rules for baseball in 1839, in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The first competitive baseball game was played in 1846, in Hoboken N.J. between Alexander Cartwright's Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York and the New York Nine.

The first professional team played in 1869 and two years following that the first professional league began.

Now even MLB has accepted that the British diary actually contained the first known reference to baseball and is even working on a documentary called "Base Ball Discovered" with the man who authenticated the manuscript, Julian Pooley.

Let's explore our options for a new pastime.


Nope. American football is derived from rugby and other sports from the United Kingdom in which a ball is kicked or run over a line, dating back to the mid-19th century.


Nope. Not that either; Canada has the roots of basketball firmly planted in their history. Dr. James Naismith, from Ontario invented the game in 1891

I suppose that leaves... what? Volleyball? At least volleyball was originated in the US.
Volleyball: The new American pastime.

Sounds hopeless.