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We are fans because the game also appeals to our local pride, our pleasure in thinking of ourselves as, yes, Americans but nonetheless different from residents of other towns, other states, other regions.
This was nostalgia in the literal Greek sense: the pain of not being able to return to one's home and family.
This illuminates not only fans' interest in major league teams but also the minors and even Little League.
There was much woe and lamentation in the seventies that the game was dying.
The National League was born the following year, as an attempt to exert the control of capital over labor.
The heroes of our youth grow old - 'the boys of summer in their ruin,' in Dylan Thomas's verse - yet we seem the same.
The caliber of play suffered and attendance declined year by year. Interest in college football was exploding, and there was this new game called basketball.
Pursuing employment or climatic relief, we live in voluntary exile from our extended families and our longer past, but in an involuntary exile from ourselves and our own past.
Planning to play: that's what saving for retirement is today - and it is antithetical to the nature of play, fully within the definition of work, and blissfully ignorant of the reality of death.
One of the first lessons he or she learns is that in baseball anything, absolutely anything, can happen. Just two days ago as I write this, something happened that had never happened in baseball before.
My egotistical concern was less that I would fail to relate to my classmates than that they would know nothing of my uniquely tortured life's course and, thus, me.
More fundamentally, it is a dream that does not die with the onset of manhood: the dream is to play endlessly, past the time when you are called home for dinner, past the time of doing chores, past the time when your body betrays you past time itself.
In response to the challenge of strangers, sport arose as a sublimated representation of a community's armed might as well as its pride of place and clan.
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