A televised baseball game from Puerto Rico, Japan, or even Cuba might look a lot like the North American game. Beneath the outward similarities, however—the uniforms and equipment and basic rules—there is usually a very different history and culture influencing the nuances of the sport. These differences are what interest the authors of Baseball without Borders, a book about America's national pastime going global and undergoing instructive, entertaining, and sometimes curious changes in the process. The contributors, leading authorities on baseball in the fourteen nations under consideration, look at how the game was imported—how it took hold and developed, how it is organized, played, and followed—and what these local and regional trends and features say about the sport's place in particular cultures.
Organized by region—Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific—and written by journalists, historians, anthropologists, and English professors, these original essays reflect diverse perspectives and range across a refreshingly wide array of subjects: from high school baseball in Japan and Little League in Taiwan to fan behavior in Cuba and the politics of baseball in China and Korea.
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George Gmelch is Roger Thayer Stone Professor of Anthropology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is the author of nine books, including Inside Pitch: Life inside Professional Baseball and In the Ballpark: The Working Lives of Baseball People, both available in Bison Books editions. For three seasons in the 1960s, Gmelch played in the minor leagues; he has also played professionally outside the United States for several seasons.
Contributors include Carlos Azzoni, Tales Azzoni, Peter Carino, Thomas Carter, Josh Chetwynd, Joseph Clark, Dan Gordon, Colin Howell, William W. Kelly, Alan Klein, Andrew Morris, Franklin Otto, Wayne Patterson, Joseph A. Reaves, Harvey Shapiro, Thomas E. Van Hyning, and Tim Wendell.
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