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Thursday, March 11, 2004

National Baseball Day: It Was Already Proposed 

Athletics Nation came up with a great idea to make Major League Baseball's opening day a national holiday and the idea was picked up by countless other baseball blogs. A National Baseball Day makes sense. After all, we already have a Federal Lands Cleanup Day, Citizenship Day, and a National Aviation Day, so why not a National Baseball Day? Well, first, in the current political climate a "National Steroid Testing of Baseball Players Day" is more likely. But also, I just wanted to point out that a National Baseball Day was actually already proposed in Congress in 1996 by then Senators Lautenberg, Bradley, and Moynihan and joined by several other Senators. It seems, however, that the proposal died before reaching committee. Below is an excerpt from the proposed "National Baseball Day."

Senate Resolution 215

Whereas the seeds of modern baseball were planted on the Elysian Fields of Hoboken, New Jersey, on the warm spring afternoon of June 19, 1846;
Whereas on that historic date, one of baseball's earliest and most influential teams, the Knickerbockers, invited a group known as the New York Club to join them for a "game of ball" under a unique set of rules that the Knickerbockers had recently devised;
Whereas the game the Knickerbockers conceived so excited and captivated the imagination of sports enthusiasts that other "baseball clubs" soon began to assemble;
Whereas these early clubs organized and modeled themselves on the example set by the Knickerbockers and adopted the Knickerbockers written "Rules of Play";
Whereas these men and teams were amateurs in the noblest sense of the word, as they played for the sheer joy they found in this new and captivating game;
Whereas over the next decade, the Elysian Fields grew into the first great center of baseball activity in the United States, and began to attract players and spectators from across the Nation;
Whereas Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. was the guiding force behind the Knickerbockers, and is the American who, perhaps, best deserves the title of " Father of Modern Baseball";
Whereas the game of baseball spread north and south along the east coast of the United States;
Whereas today this game is known simply as "baseball", a game which, unlike any other, has had a profound influence on generation after generation of Americans;
Whereas for millions of Americans, baseball is part of their earliest childhood memories, including the crack of a bat, the smell of a glove, and the endless summers spent on sandlots and schoolyards in every community across this great Nation in a uniquely American rite of passage;
Whereas for many Americans, their first real heroes wore pinstriped baseball uniforms, and these heroes taught generations of young Americans important values and inspired their first dreams of glory;
Whereas in every American generation for 150 years, baseball has been an important bond between millions of parents and their children who have shared countless afternoons at the ballpark;
Whereas today, baseball binds one generation of Americans to the next through a shared experience that has become central to our cultural identity as a Nation;
Whereas it is often said that to understand America, one must first understand the game of baseball; and
Whereas the designation of a "National Baseball Day" will provide an opportunity to celebrate America's "national pastime" and to reflect upon a game that has become a metaphor for our Nation's values and a living symbol of our cultural heritage: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate, in recognition of the fundamental role that the game of baseball has played in shaping our American experience, and as a tribute to those who first pioneered the game, designate June 19, 1996, as "National Baseball Day." The President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

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