[FOUNTAIN]Caught in their own trapWhile the United States is treated as the sovereign nation of baseball, the sport did not, in fact, originate in the United States. Just like most games of ball, the birthplace of baseball was the United Kingdom. From the mid-18th century, a game called “rounders” has been played in Britain.
A feeder, or pitcher, throws a ball to a striker, who hits it with a bat. If the striker failed to hit the ball three times, he would be out. Baseball resembles rounders as it was played on a diamond-shaped field with four bases, one of which was home. British immigrants introduced the game to the United States, and it evolved into modern-day baseball.
However, Americans must have been dissatisfied with the origin of baseball, so a clever legend was promoted. In 1907, the Mills Commission was organized to research the origin of baseball in the United States. It presented a report stating, “The first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839.”
Mr. Doubleday had ordered the first shot fired as the Union artillery captain during the Civil War and was a war hero from the Battle of Gettysburg. Thanks to the report, he was made more famous as the inventor of baseball. The Baseball Hall of Fame is also located in Cooperstown because of the report. However, today, few people believe that report to be true. In the year the report claimed baseball was invented, Mr. Doubleday was a cadet and hadn’t been to Cooperstown.
After all, American baseball fans do not need to invent legends. Even if baseball was not born in the United States, no one can deny that the United States is the father of modern baseball. In 1845, a banker named Alexander Cartwright founded the New York Knickerbockers with his friends. The members drew up a set of 17 Knickerbockers rules, which became the basis of the rules of modern baseball.
The World Baseball Classic wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the United States. However, the United States went too far once again. Out of an obsession with victory, they played with the rules, and two countries ended up having three matches in one event.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson argued with an umpire over a decision and was fined 1,000 dollars. When he made out his check for the fine, he wrote in the memo line, “Donation for the Blind.” If Team USA, which failed to advance to the semifinal round, were to pay a fine, the check should be noted, “A Fee for Falling into their Own Trap.”
by Lee Hoon-beom
The writer is the head of the JoongAng Ilbo’s weekend news team.