Italy didnt yoke its mules to camels, but it had other failings. A game in Naples appeared to launch the european portion of the tour happily when thousands jammed a cricket field under the shadow of mount Vesuvius. But in the fifth inning a foul ball clipped a youngster, prompting what were for described as excitable neapolitans to swarm angrily over the field and abort the rest of the contest. Then, sixty years before an American congressman earned infamy after World War ii by visiting Rome and demanding to know why the Italians hadnt used some of their Marshall Plan money to patch up the holes in the colosseum, Spalding arrived in the capital and. He received appalled silence even when he raised his offer, promising that in return for access to the colosseum, he would toss money at some local charities. He got no further in a bid to have his party received by the pope, and had to settle for playing a perfunctory game before king Humbert i and Prime minister Francesco Crispi in the villa borghese. Plans to play in Florence died when the Americans were informed upon arrival that the tuscan capital lacked suitable grounds. The main difference between Italy and France was that the latter stop-off was mercifully briefer.
A rough three-week sail across the Indian Ocean to ceylon (Sri lanka) instigated considerable grousing from the players and produced merely one five-inning exhibition. The cingalese were described as having watched that half-game as though we were so many escaped convicts. While Spalding amused himself with the wonders of rickshaw driving through the capital city of Colombo, his traveling companions were preoccupied with the locals to the point of paranoia. There were hundreds of howling, chattering, grotesquely arrayed natives, with their red, white green, and blue and orange turbans, sashes and jackets, complained one member of the Stars-and-Stripes-uniformed Ward team. Another worried that the wrong call on the field would precipitate a riot, though he didnt explain how those not versed in the games rules would know when any call would be wrong. A subsequent stop in Egypt was worse. First there was a half-witted attempt to play a game in the sands around the pyramids, then a contest among the players to fire a baseball at the right eye of the Sphinx, and then the rigging up of duval in a catchers mask and. For Spalding, the lack of enthusiasm by the Egyptians for what he was bringing them should not have come as a surprise to anybody: In a country where they use a stick for a plow, and hitch a donkey and a camel wood together to draw.
The first stop after a swing through several American cities out to california was Honolulu, where the party arrived too late for a scheduled Saturday game and learned that Protestant missionaries had gained enough of a foothold to impose a ban on Sunday ball. That was about as far as Spalding got with what, in a foreshadowing of McKinleys bluster, he called the heathens. All King Kalakaua wanted to see was a jig by Clarence duval, a black mascot for the White Stockings said to have a remarkable talent for plantation dancing and baton twirling. After a one-day stopover in New zealand brought no converts, the party reached Australia for what turned out to be the peak of the trip. Melbourne, sydney, adelaide, and Ballarat were reportedly so enthusiastic about twelve exhibitions between the White Stockings and Wards squad that dispatches relayed to the. The new York times into editorializing around the sonorous question, Who shall say that baseball has not a mission for mankind? The new York times itself, which needed many more years to concede that baseball was a worthier sport than cricket.) The dispatches from reporters traveling with the group also noted that, never one to leave showmanship to chance, spalding ingratiated himself to the australians. Even the reports describing the visit as a delirious triumph acknowledged that Professor Bartholomew won as much applause as the ball players. After Australia, the tour became a concentrated study in apathy, racism, and precocious Ugly Americanism.
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Between the civil War and the beginning of the twentieth century, american attention to the rest of the world was decidedly spasmodic. Through lacerating phases of first putting the United back into the United States after the north-south hostilities and then conquering the final Western frontiers, what was going on in Rome and Copenhagen, let alone in Shanghai and Calcutta, seemed far less urgent than the potential. What didnt threaten desolation threatened blood. It was in this context that historians such as Frederick jackson Turner predicted a future focus on frontiers abroad as a safety valve for releasing pressures brought about by immigration, urbanization, and industrialization. The most recurrent bullpen for what gradually grew into an imperialistic expansion came from nineteenth-century worlds fairs that alerted other nations to what America was producing both materially and culturally as well as nudged America into recognizing the global markets off its shores. More than any bilateral economic or political agreements or exchanged state visits, the fairs offered highly suggestive glances at what might be gained from mutually deepened explorations across the oceans.
Just in the years around the turn of the century, there were major international expositions in New Orleans, Chicago, atlanta, nashville, omaha, buffalo,. And that didnt count American representation in fairs organized in other countries, none of them more influential than those organized in Paris in 18, thank you, monsieur Clemenceau. Constrained as he felt in pitching his baseball wares, Spalding didnt miss the prospects visible in greater international exposure. On October 22, 1888, he set out from Chicago with his White Stockings and an assembly of other major leaguers under giants shortstop John Montgomery ward on a world tour for the objective of internationalizing baseballs appeal and, not incidentally, globalizing the sales of his. The rhetoric around the trip about exporting baseballs American spirit included attiring the ward team in a uniform with a stars and Stripes motif. Although the tour would later be celebrated as a prime illustration of Spaldings promotional genius, its cardinal accomplishment was ironic in the extreme - demonstrating that baseball was indeed resume truly an American sport, but in the sense english that not too many other people were interested.
That wouldnt have been enough of a response even if he had regarded baseball solely as the way he made his money. But Spalding didnt view baseball just as a business any more than the men of influence he mingled with regularly thought of the United States as just another country on the map of the world. He could be as inspired by transcendental visions as they could and, paradoxically, for at least one very immediate business reason. As ambitious as he was for his sporting goods operation, Spalding also realized such a relatively narrow specialization left him at the childrens table while oil, steel, and other industrialists puffed away at their cigars at the adults table as they talked about horizons beyond. Only one thing made him their dining room equal: the idea that the major product being exported by one and all was.
Exporting America, in 1899, President William McKinley defended the United States occupation of the Philippines by asserting that it was an American obligation to Christianize the pagans. His pronouncement after the previous years Treaty of Paris that assigned Manila to washington might have glowed for its ludicrous hypocrisy, but it also reflected how far in such a relatively short time evangelical domestic attitudes had come to further - and rationalize - international. Only a short time earlier, the economic and political expansion aims behind the Spanish-American War had been justified as a mission to free cuba from Spanish colonialism. More broadly, between 18, American troops landed on Caribbean national territories twenty times with no apologies for Washingtons role as the worlds new policeman. The gilded Age could be a heady time. In his sour appraisal of such aggressive moves some time afterward, Frances georges Clemenceau would declare that America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization. In fact, though, no nation had abetted that development more concretely than Clemenceaus France and not only as a venue for questionable international accords.
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His achievements in business and in America remained an investment, and investments either grew or evaporated depending on vigilance over them. Security - for him personally and for any enterprise with which he was identified - meant eliminating any possible transience to his resume success. He didnt need reminding that his own puritanical aversion to alcohol hadnt prevented saloons from becoming the fastest-growing business in the country, that the dominance of his Chicago White Stockings on the diamond hadnt protected against the regular collapse of other franchises and even entire. None of these atmospherics promised long-term returns on Albert Spaldings investments. His personal fortunes were no guarantee of anything; as often as not, they seemed to have spited prevailing trends, and how long could that be counted on to continue? Spalding knew more than wishful thinking was required and didnt settle for mere propaganda as a corrective. Aside from everything else, he had already tried that through years of editorials in his publications arguing (after earlier hesitations) that baseball owed nothing to such British games as rounders or the numerous variations on the transatlantic one-o-cat. All that had gotten him were debating society disputes that confirmed nothing except the pompous, stilted rhetoric of the debaters.
It was physical chess that could be played by almost anyone and to a definite outcome within a short period of walter time. The sports most prominent entrepreneur over its pubescent years was Albert Spalding who went from star pitcher to team owner to publisher to operator of the global sporting goods empire that still bears his name today. Spalding epitomized the American success story even as that theme was still just seeping into both fictional and nonfictional writings as a cultural touchstone. If his beginnings werent laborious to the degree of an Horatio alger protagonist, they were erratic enough to comfort notions of human progress as the ability to overcome anything associated with yesterday. Nothing measured that constantly widening distance for him as seductively as the premise that he had made his fortune in an activity - baseball - that not only hadnt existed at all in the recent past but also had then suddenly arisen on the landscape. If he had been born too late to claim the role of inventor for himself, his own thriving remained resonant because he could see it as feeding off the immaculately original, all competing claims about the leisure activities of ancient Normans, native americans, Frenchmen, and. It was a short walk from this perception to the conclusion that Destiny had a special task for him. But Spalding was also intelligent enough to know he couldnt walk his press clippings down to his local bank and have them considered a significant deposit.
was something not to be trusted. A game was what commercialized as much joy out of an athletic activity as possible. The game of games was baseball. It vanquished cricket as a competitor in the sports field, profited from its timely association with the extension of the railroads and development of the telegraph, and introduced parameters of mass entertainment long before such other amusements as the circus and vaudeville. Its growth in the 1860s and 1870s was unprecedented in numbers, responding as it did to both participatory exercise on the most informal athletic level and spectating habit for an admission price. The game as metaphor satisfied on any number of levels, encompassing the subtlest of mental maneuverings, the scientisms of statistical computations, and brute strength.
E., if children can have their Santa Claus, grown-ups can have their Abner doubleday. Doubleday as the progenitor of something purely American cuts to a profound cultural bias none of its advocates has ever known except as borrowed reverie, but - for a multitude of social, political, and psychological reasons - that has been good enough. Purity is never in plan so much demand as around the suspicion that impurity has been having a very rowdy time. Few periods in United States history have been rowdier than the one that provided a setting for the doubleday fancy, the late nineteenth century. Nativism at home and expansion abroad excused just about any excess as patriotic striving. Between the end of the civil War and the start of the Spanish-American War, whatever was good for America was more or less anything that somebody with a loud voice and a big stick said was good for America. By the early twentieth century, when doubleday was formally beatified as the first among baseballs saints, anything American was its own reward. The very language reeled from exposure to the unbridled, rapacious, and self-indulgent. Hired killers were regulators, when not peacemakers.
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We would laugh off the idea of Abner doubleday being responsible for the civil War. Were not even likely to indulge claims of the kind as droll plan and harmless. And yet, there are more grounds for blaming the war Between the States on doubleday than for crediting him as the inventor of baseball or for even tolerating that assertion as innocuous whimsy. At least the general was at Fort Sumter in south Carolina on the morning of April 12, 1861, was in charge of the Union batteries there, and did give the order to fire the northern shots in response to the confederate shelling that has generally. Later on, he was even a primary figure in the turning point battle of Gettysburg. The factual evidence ridiculing doubledays connection to baseball, seminal or otherwise, has been established for some time. But the lingering benevolence toward the fatuousness of that connection has reflected another national pastime - the tentative cultivating of an innocent spirit that has never existed except as fable and that, averting seamier historical alternatives, craves to be accepted at least for the fancy.