Baseball Rhetoric Used by Politicians and Media Creating a Stronger Sense of Nationalism in the White Male American Identity During World War II

Kaitlyn Fulmore, Professor Mary Boyes, Honors College, Virginia Commonwealth University, 701 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220

In the early twentieth century baseball had integrated so much into American culture, that it had become synonymous with the American Dream and American Exceptionalism. However, in holding the title of ‘America’s National Pastime’, baseball pays the price by also being associated with the negative aspects of America’s nationalism. Over the course of American history, baseball has become a tool for both politicians and press to yield a narrative they want to be seen by the public -- whether that be helping uplift national morale, or exposing the hypocrisy of segregation. When Major League Baseball was allowed to continue games during World War II, baseball’s meaning shifted in the white American public’s eyes as a beacon of normalcy during national crises. In order to gauge baseball’s importance towards the Americana public, I read through primary documents discussing baseball between the early and mid twentieth century, along with scholarly journal articles from the past 30 years that discussed baseball’s importance in America’s history. I found that baseball’s ties with politicians and the press created a forum where culture-altering events could become more digestible to the public. However, those in power during the mid-twentieth century, specifically straight white men, decided when and how they would use baseball to fit the narrative that best suited their wants and needs. After World War II, baseball maintained a position of providing morale in America during crises -- from the Cold War, to 9/11, and even the Covid-19 pandemic. Baseball, along with other sports, create narratives for public audiences to ease concerns about the world around them, and instead create an outlet of cheering on people the public want to relate to. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Kaitlyn Fulmore

Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University

Type: Poster

Subject: Political Science

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6531