Baseball remains one of the most beloved sports in America. With a rich yet tumultuous history of creating various leagues, their short life span has demonstrated a competitive nature that initially prevented a spirit of working together. Baseball has since brought about the best sports viewing possibilities after the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association in the year 1966.
From the bat and ball games of the early colonists, baseball has transcended world wars, the Great Depression, union formation, civil rights and women’s rights to what we see now in the 21st century. Demonstrated throughout its own sports history, baseball reflects the changes within American society. It not only teaches us about American culture, but it actively allows us to participate in it.
Not only is it rife with history and dedicated fans, but it also attracts bettors who love to follow the game, especially to see if things will go their way. Indeed, baseball tends to draw adept bettors because each team plays 162 games each season, compared to the 82 games in an NBA season and the 16 games of an NFL season. As a result, it’s easier for bettors to narrow in on one team and sort out where they may think the sportsbook has weaknesses.
Baseball and Early American History
Baseball’s first all-professional team founded in 1869, leading to decades of rivalries between leagues and players who often switched from one team to another. In the 1919 World Series, there was the infamous Black Sox scandal, which highlighted a conspiracy of White Sox players intentionally losing their game against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money. It led to the appointment of the first Commissioner of Baseball — a role meant to gain control over the sport and restore its integrity in the wake of gambling runs and prohibition.
Thankfully, the 1920s represented the success of their restored integrity through a rise in popularity of the sport. It led to surviving economic downturns during the Great Depression and World War II. It was so popular around this time that the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000, which was the largest amount ever paid to a player in its history.
Sustained Growth and the Onset of Civil Rights
Time brought with it years of growth and overt reflections of the civil rights movement. In the 1940s, Jackie Robinson played for the Negro League before he broke baseball’s color barrier. The sport subsequently experienced an iconic time of expansion in the 1950s and the 1960s that saw new stadiums and artificial turf to enhance the games, in addition to Robinson’s feat. It was also a time when women fought for the right to play ball in their own league.
In the late 1960s, the players developed a union to negotiate bargaining agreements, file grievance cases and manage player suspensions as a reflection of years of union movements that provided fair rights for workers. After all, professional players were employees who needed to vouch for their rights in an established sport.
In the year 2000, the American and National baseball leagues formed into one league: the Major League Baseball (MLB). It consists of 30 teams that each play 162 games per season and culminates in the World Series, a best-of-seven championship that’s been around since 1903. Media coverage spans radio, television and internet during this event, and to this day, baseball still has the highest-season attendance of any sports league in the world, with more than 73 million spectators in 2015 alone.
Betting on Baseball
For spectators who genuinely love the sports betting, it serves as a vehicle for investing themselves in the game more than they already do. It’s a favorite for bettors because it generally consists of moneyline bets. In general, moneyline bets don’t consist of spreads or handicaps and only require choosing a team that has an outright win. There have been federal regulations on sports betting throughout history to maintain integrity, but there has been a recent move to change the stance on the matter to try and shape future legislation. It will be fascinating to see what comes of it.
Baseball’s history of more than 100 years has served as a mirror for political and societal shifts throughout American history. It not only connects us to our community and the present, but it also connects us to our past.