There are three occasions upon which I feel the most patriotic.
One is always when I return to the United States from a trip abroad. Another is when I vote. And the third is when I attend a baseball game.
Nothing says "America" like our national pastime. For a few yawning hours, chronological time becomes primordial time, and within those walls of sacred stadiums, space becomes holy. And the Boys of Summer do what they've been doing for nearly two centuries. They play ball.
But over the years, nefarious characters have threatened to sully baseball's good name. Chick Gandil persuaded the Chicago White Sox to throw a few games back in 1919. Peter Edward Rose had a bit of a gambling problem. And, of course, there's everyone's favorite recovering opportunist — Jose Canseco, the Danny Bonaduce of baseball — and the long line of performance-enhancing abusers from Mark McGwire to you-know-who.
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