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Mark Twain called baseball “the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century.” This book searches the concrete actions typical of baseball games for the meaning of what they represent. For example, the struggles in a game of individuals against a group of enemies organized to put them out represents the struggles of Americans to succeed in a fiercely competitive capitalistic economy. But baseball combines characteristics of both Christian Protestantism and industrial capitalism. So a home run represents a sudden, unexpected success and at the same time a home run embodies in a game a sudden impossible miraculous redemption. We are a people who worship not just what is possible in life but what is impossible and baseball is our national theater.

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