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Baseball & Apple Pie

PitcherBaseball is known as the Great American pastime. It ranks with homemade apple pie. The game itself is very easy to follow and enjoy. For many people throughout the baseball playing world, one of the favorite ways to spend the day is at the stadium.

Baseball is an evolution of game played in mid-18th century England. This game was brought to the colonies by immigrants. It was there that the modern version came into being. Around the 19th century, baseball as we know it was being played across the country.

The game is fairly straightforward. There are two teams of nine players each. These teams take turns batting and fielding. The positions in the field are pitcher, catcher, baseman, shortstop, right field, center field, and left field. When each team has had a turn at bat, this constitutes an inning. There are nine innings in the game of baseball, although in the event of a tie, extra innings are played.

The strategy of baseball centers largely around the type of the pitch the pitcher throws. There are four main types of pitches, the fastball, the curveball, the slider, and the changeup. With these small variances the pitcher essentially orchestrates the entire game. If the pitcher can make three pitches that the batter cannot hit, or refuses to hit thinking they are simply “balls,” that batter is out. A “ball” is when the ball is thrown outside the batter’s strike range. The one who makes this call is known as the umpire.

Full Stretch CatchBaseball is largely a US sport, but it is played internationally. Among the many countries which play baseball are Japan, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, and the Netherlands. These countries formed leagues between the world wars and several other countries have joined the ranks since then.

The Major League Baseball season runs from March to September. The North American part of the season starts about a week after the season opening. In 2014 the opening was held in Sydney, Australia between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The season schedule can be accessed through the MLB website.

Baseball has experienced a decline in popularity over recent years. While it does not have the legal issues that other sports have, except for the occasional steroid accusation, the past eight World Series were watched by far fewer people around the world than all those that went before. National interest has dropped for this national pastime. Once known for its speed, (a game could take under an hour) baseball now takes upwards of two hours to play. This is not the only reason it has fallen out of favor compared to the likes of football and basketball. Unlike these games, baseball is a slow burn. There is not action all the time; it takes concentration and understanding to appreciate. It is a thinking person’s game.

Ebbets FieldEbbets Field

Every great city has its sporting stadium and for Brooklyn this was Ebbets Field. During the 20th Century Ebbets Field has seen many great episodes in American sporting history. Although today the ground the stadium once stood upon has been transformed into apartments, Ebbets Field still has a place in Brooklyn’s sports history and is remembered as one of New York’s great stadiums.

A patchwork of land

Ebbets Field was originally built as a baseball field to be the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Originally the Dodgers were based at Washington Park, however when this burnt down a new stadium was needed. Charlie Ebbets began buying property in a run-down area of Brooklyn, starting in 1908, with the intention of using it build a new stadium. Over the years he eventually had acquired the entire block including a site of a garbage dump that was known as Pigtown, which had gained its name from the pigs that used to eat there. Four years after Ebbets started buying up the land construction started on the new stadium and a year later in 1913 the new Ebbets Field stadium was ready to receive the sporting greats.

Home of the Dodgers

Ebbets Field stadium was formally opened on April 9 when the Brooklyn Dodgers played against the Philadelphia Phillies. Although ready for baseball, the stadium wasn’t entirely complete when it first opened. Missing was the flag, keys to the bleachers and a press box, in fact a press box wasn’t added to Ebbets Field until 1929. As well as these omissions, when the stadium was first opened there was no seating in the left or center, as well as this there was no screen or scoreboard. Still, at first, the stadium proved to be a lucky charm for the Dodgers who enjoyed early success while based there. This success, however, didn’t last and during the 1920s and 1930s the Brooklyn Dodgers were in decline, although its fans remained strong and loyal.

Sporting history

On April 15 1947 Ebbets Field became the site for one of the most famous and progressive events in World Champions RingAmerican sporting history. It was on this date and in this stadium that Jackie Robinson became the first black baseball player since 1880 to play in the Major League, this event was watched by a crowd of 26,623 baseball fans and was not only a major turning point in American sports, but also one of the early steps in the Civil Rights movement. The Dodgers won the game and with Robinson’s help, the club’s fortunes began to change and the Brooklyn Dodgers once again became a successful and winning team.

Success and downfall

It was perhaps the Dodger’s new found success that led to Ebbets Field’s downfall. Soon, the stadium’s 35,000 capacity meant that it was too small for the modern game. Arguments started about where the new home for the Dodgers should be, which eventually lead to the club moving to Los Angeles. In the 1960s, Ebbets Field was destroyed to make way for the construction of new apartment blocks, which still stand on the site today.

7 comments

  • Dom Mosqueda says:

    Ebbets field was a beautiful stadium and just because a team moves away does not mean another team could not use it ? I am for preserving our history of what REAL BASEBALL was all about ? To destroy a beautiful landmark and put some fugly high rise low income apts ? Hell with that find an empty factory and build there ? Leave our Baseball Historical Parks alone ?

    • Mark Wallace says:

      The reason why another team couldn’t use it is that they would have the same problems with it as the Dodgers. It was too small, and lacked parking and access roads. The ball parks today are food courts with a plahing field and cramped little Ebbets Field didn’t have the room for that.

    • Kenny Lee says:

      I agree that it would have been great if the ballpark could have been preserved, perhaps as a quasi-museum and field for scholastic athletics. But there is no way another team would have moved there. The Brooklyn market might be attractive, but….Ebbets Field was dated, inadequate in so many ways, given the growing popularity of the game, and the fact that so many fans were moving to the suburbs and would want to come to the games by car….not a great proposition in a ballpark that had parking for 800 cars! O’Malley saw what other teams had, what they were getting, and an offer whereby the city of Los Angeles gave away the store to get a major league team and become a big league city.

      It is a shame that the site of Ebbets was converted to a public housing project that was ugly and in effect, a “warehouse for the poor” well away from Brooklyn’s tonier and even middle class neighborhoods. Whats there today makes the absence of historic Ebbets Field even harder to take.

  • Raoul Nolan says:

    Video was taken by my father, Robert I Nolan who was born in Brooklyn Heights and grew up in the Flatlands (Mill Basin) I thought you would be interested in this footage

  • Charlie Ebbets says:

    If I were a billionaire I’d spend the money to put a replica back brick by brick. If not at the original site— then somewhere. It would be great if the various baseball video games that are released could have a likeness of the Park in the classsoc ballparks section.

  • The Ebbets Field Apartments are aging badly, so it’s not far-fetched to imagine that they will be demolished. Imagine constructing a new “replica” Ebbets Field on the site! Every detail, down to the “bat” chandelier in the rotunda, lovingly reconstructed. Of course, it won’t be THE original, but would be as close to the original as we could come.

  • Mas says:

    I wasn’t alive during the Ebbets field era of the 40’s & 50’s but Brooklyn was among the most popular in Baseball right next to the Yankees and it was a sad days when they left for Los Angeles after the 1957 season and Charlie O’Malley was never forgiven of what he’s done along with city officials of New York. There’s a lot of blame to go around but the people of Brooklyn lost a team that met so much to New York which will never see something of this kind ever again. 1955 Brooklyn finally did win a championship and it’s among the greatest moments in Brooklyn history and I’m sure many people still talk about that team today I definitely love to read that book the Boys of Summer that was written the year I was born 1971.

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