Why Baseball Matters Susan Jacoby

Why X Matters Series
Publication date:
20 Mar 2018
Yale University Press
224 pages: 197 x 133mm

A best-selling author and passionate baseball fan takes a tough-minded look at America’s most traditional game in our twenty-first-century culture of digital distraction

Baseball is a clockless game at odds with the shortened attention spans of technology-obsessed modern lives. It is, paradoxically, a profitable business that is losing younger fans. This is the dilemma explored by Susan Jacoby in her heartfelt but unsparing assessment of the “national pastime.” Combining her critical intelligence with love of the game, Jacoby asks what can be done to once again invest baseball with meaning for the young.
Revisiting her youthful days of watching televised baseball in her grandfather’s bar, the author dismisses nostalgia for a “pure” game and focuses on two of baseball’s biggest challenges—digitally induced loss of concentration and the relatively small proportion of teenaged, African-American, and female fans. Without sanitizing baseball’s many problems, the author reminds us that the game has, since it first became popular nationally after the Civil War, repeatedly demonstrated the ability to reinvent itself during periods of immense social change.

Susan Jacoby is the author of eleven previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The Age of American Unreason. She is a frequent contributor to national publications, including the Times and the Washington Post. She lives in New York City.