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Baseball As America

Friday's my day off; spring break is over; the Cubs are out of town; and the sun was out on what was supposed to be a rainy day.

So, I figured this would be a good day to take in the highly-touted "Baseball As America" exhibit at the Field Museum.

There's been some talk around that people should boycott this exhibition because of the comments of HoF President and Censor Dale Petroskey regarding the cancellation of the "Bull Durham" event. But frankly, what is being shown at the Field Museum has nothing to do with that; it's part of the history of the sport we love, and the history of our country too, and I had no intention of giving in to the politicizing of the Hall of Fame, as Petroskey did.

Folks, you have got to see this exhibition if you live in Chicago, or are planning to be in Chicago anytime before July 20, when it closes. This is several hundred pieces of baseball history which are being exhibited in a way that relates them to American history, in a very interesting and lively way -- many of them set up topically, as in celebrating black baseball, or baseball broadcasting, or marketing. There's far too much stuff here for me to even attempt to tell you what you'll see, though you'll certainly recognize a lot of it -- including a new piece of history, the bat that Sammy Sosa used to hit his 500th HR just three weeks ago. There's plenty more Chicago baseball history there, as well as history that is related to things that have happened in American history, such as the shameful way black ballplayers were treated for much of history.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. You've simply got to see the exhibit to really appreciate it. For anyone who loves baseball or the USA, it's an absolute must.

Oh, there was one small factual error made: next to a photo of Mark McGwire hitting a home run with flashbulbs popping in the background, the caption read: "Flashbulbs pop as Mark McGwire hit his record 70th HR in 1998". Sorry, but McGwire's 70th was hit during a day game, so there wouldn't have been any flashbulbs. Most probably, the photo was taken when he hit the record-breaking 62nd, which was hit at night.