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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Baseball Sat Jan 17 2009

Baseball and Barack

Much has been made of the role sports has played in Four-Days-From-Being-President Barack Obama's life, most notably the sport of basketball. From his days as a prep player in Hawaii, to his love of pick-up games around the country, to his penchant for picking cabinet members with a hoops background, Obama is becoming synonymous with basketball.

But in his New York Times column, writer George Vecsey makes a case for baseball as a defining factor in Obama's ascention to the White House. No, not Obama as baseball player or even avid fan, but Obama as benefitting from the social gains established by baseball before becoming a regular part of the larger society.

No surprise that Vecsey points to the Brooklyn Dodgers as the team that deserves the most credit in the sport for helping to pave the way for Obama. Yeah, it smacks of typical New York City bias, but he makes a good case for the Dodger influence on history, citing Roy Campanella, Don Newcomb and, of course, Jackie Robinson as part of the reason why the Obamas were able to make the journey from Chicago to Washington, D.C.

Basketball may be his game, but for Barack Obama, baseball's influence on his life may go far beyond his well-worn White Sox cap.

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