On Timelessness and Time

Mike Plugh, "Baseball: Past American Time":

It’s also important to remember that baseball is a rural game, a game of grass and dirt, of wood and chalk and pine tar. Baseball is a game of wide open spaces. We call the playing space a park, in contrast to courts, rinks, and gridirons. The sport itself also is the essence of timelessness, which fits with its rustic mores. The clock is an urbanizing technology, one of synchronization and uniformity, time being measured precisely to produce regularity in our routines. Baseball is unburdened by that form of precision, or at least it used to be. Nowadays, we flit and dart from second to second through digital environments on our smartphones and wearable technology. Nothing escapes the speed of electricity, and therefore we learn to accept constant change, but baseball is anything but constant change. The game has been compared to chess. Each pitch is crucial and the game frequently hangs in the balance of one red-hot moment that punctuates long minutes of study, plotting and measurement. It’s the intervals between the short spurts of action where the interesting stuff usually takes place. I know many who lament that baseball is "boring" and "slow", but I think these sentiments show a fundamental misunderstanding of what baseball is. It's not a game of non-stop, hard-hitting, wall-to-wall action like, say, hockey is. Baseball is unique unto itself, and its uniqueness is what made the sport "the national pastime" for decades. Here's the box score of the Pirates-Phillies game from 1921 that Plugh mentions.