HOT TOPIC: Baseball
Volume 3, Issue 7 - October 22, 2006

"The World Series begins this week, the annual Fall Classic playing out its excitement and drama in the cities if St. Louis and Detroit. And interest is not limited to the Midwest, as fans from around the nation follow along game-by-game.

Traditionally baseball has been our national pastime. And even though football has taken over the lead in television ratings and sports dollars, baseball still remains an important thread in our national fabric.

Baseball is unlike any other sport. It is played without reference to time. One-hundred and sixty-two games in six months is an incredible pace. No other sport comes close to its day-in and day-out rigor. And within each game it self there is no reference to time. Baseball requires nine innings be played regardless of how long it takes, and each inning requires three outs for each side, and up to four balls or three strikes for each batter. It is a game of patience and perseverance. Teams ride out hot streaks and slumps, just as hitters and pitchers play the long haul for average. Slow and steady wins the race. Baseball is a metaphor for our American character.

Another unique characteristic of baseball is its preoccupation with statistics. From elementary school students to senior citizens, true fans follow the data that serves as the measuring stick for all baseball accomplishments: .400 hitters and twenty-game winners, DiMaggio’s hitting streak, Aaron’s homerun record and Ripken’s 2131 consecutive games played. They are hallmarks of excellence and standards to which all players aspire. Looking for some data to work with in math class? Look no further than baseball.

As the World Series plays itself out this week, there are many opportunities to involve your students and motivate them to apply the skills they are learning in class in a real-world setting. The recommended resources in this issue of the Digital Dozen Newsletter will help you make connections across the curriculum as you celebrate this annual ritual that is such a rich piece of Americana."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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