The great American song “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” is more than a baseball song. Just ask Katie Casey. A young girl madly in love with the game, but also in love with a potential suitor. Yes, the song is actually a love song of sorts. As you know, I’m a big fan of the Library of Congress digital collections so check out this article on America’s second anthem. You may want to enjoy a box of Cracker Jacks while you read.
Let me throw some names out: Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Trout. Do these names sound familiar?
I hope for both the die-hard baseball fan and casual baseball observers alike they do. These players represent the future of Major League Baseball star power. What will come of their careers only time will tell. But for the moment, let’s take a look at what we have before us:
1) Mike Trout: .326 BA, 30 HRs, 83 RBI, .911 career OPS
2) Stephen Strasburg: 3.16 ERA (197 Innings), 15-6 overall
3) Bryce Harper: .270 BA, 22 HRs, 59 RBI
Here’s the interesting statistic that applies to all of them: each are under the age of 25. This means the future of the game is bright. Could we be witnessing the beginning of a new golden era in baseball? Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
I still have questions about Harper. Statistically, if Strasburg doesn’t pitch in the postseason, what will the lack of postseason stats do to his career legacy? I think 2012 is the anomaly for Strasburg. After the Cardinals come back, expect to see Strasburg in the postseason for the Nationals, if they get there again. Mike Trout is the real deal. It’s that simple.
At one time in baseball history, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider all patrolled their respective outfield’s in New York. The Yankees won 29 pennants between 1918 and 1964. The names of Ruth, Gehrig, Shoeless Joe, Cobb, and Cy Young were more than mere echoes on the wind. Yogi Berra was in the process of winning ten championship rings. Most importantly, baseball was the sport of all Americans.
Today’s game competes with the NFL, NBA, occasionally the NHL (when they’re not on strike or in a lockout), and I’ll go as far as to mention the PGA. College sports is just as big a business as the professional games.
Before color television, smartphones, and the internet, radio broadcasted Major League Baseball games to millions of listeners. Regardless of class, race, education, or religion, you were a fan. Baseball transcended the social fabric of the country. While I fill my Saturday’s with changing diapers and Notre Dame football; and my Sundays consist of more diapers and hopefully a win by the New York Football Giants, baseball remains the American past time.
As the respective League Championship Series showcase a Triple Crown winner, a recently benched all-time great, and a team that used to call the Polo Grounds in New York City home, this post season gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past, the present, and hopefully the bright future of baseball.
Are there current players or future stars that should be on my very short list? Let me know.