The United States had celebrated its 100th birthday. Lying ahead was manifest destiny, river transportation was being overtaken by rail, the East Coast was linked to the West, the Industrial Revolution was just ahead, and, oh yes, a "boy's game" was making its presence felt. By the 1880's, baseball was in full swing. Both the American and National leagues had been established, and the game was not only a recreation, but also a professional sport.
People were curious about the regulations and intricacies of baseball. How will the batters and pitchers be affected by the new size of the pitcher's box, now 7 feet by 4 feet? What about the new rule that requires an umpire to have two balls in his possession at the start of every game? What about the rule change that allows a base on balls after seven non-strikes instead of six, as had been the case the previous two years? And would the game be supported more enthusiastically in Kansas City or Philadelphia?
Today, different questions would arise from baseball fans across the United States. Who has a bigger salary? Rickey Henderson, Nolan Ryan, or Roger Clemens? What about the statistic introduced by Thomas Boswell of Inside Sports, called "T.A."? (Total Average) This innovative statistic divides the total bases produced by the total outs made.
The sport of baseball has in fact changed drastically over the course of the century in several ways. Modern, highly skilled professional players are used to sponsor products manufactured by major corporations. Uniforms have undergone drastic changes, from loose and baggy to tighter and more colorful. The contracts of major league baseball players have drastically inflated. Not only have the circumstances surrounding baseball changed, but the sport itself has undergone transformation. Today's major league players play better than the players of the early years.
In the past decade, corporations have started using bas...