The non-sports public may be wonder, just what is the seventh inning stretch? Before getting down to the nitty gritty it’s always a good idea to get into the why, and the when. That way, in the event someone else happens to be in the dark on the seventh inning stretch, they can receive the full 411. Especially so, when it comes to baseball, or sports in general, as fans can be heartless when it comes to passing knowledge of the game, and ridiculing those who are unfortunate enough to inquire.
Of course, we’re in it for the fun, baby. What you need to know before anything, is that baseball is surrounded by legend. It’s disputed on who even invented the game, in fact. The same also goes for who invented the seventh inning stretch. Some say it was President Taft, some say it was Harry Wright, manager of the Cincinnati Reds or “red stockings” as they were known as in 1869, when Wright penned a letter in which he stated fans just started stretching at that specific point of the game.
The point of game Wright was talking about was the time between the away team’s top half of the inning, and the home team’s bottom half of the inning.
Those who do not watch baseball, or even more importantly, have never been to a baseball game, may not understand exactly why fans would need to stretch. It’s simple, really. Sitting in the provided hardwood or plastic seating at a game for several hours is taxing. There are also other reasons, including but not limited to, food and bathroom breaks. Just as folks cannot sit for hours at a time, no matter how much they enjoy the game of baseball, they also cannot go without eating or drinking, and in the process, requiring restroom breaks after the fact.
It should also be noted, though it is tough to admit, baseball, as fun and exciting as it can be, is often times slow and uneventful. When the seventh inning stretch originated, whenever exactly it came about, this may have not been a common opinion, after all baseball is America’s pastime; however, with high octane entertainment like football, basketball, and hockey coming into their own, the modern fan may need an eye rest or two between innings to catch their bearings.
One thing is for sure, even if we don’t know when it came about, the seventh inning stretch is a welcome tradition to the game of tradition, baseball. Whether you’re resting your eyes and legs for a bit, heading down to the food stands, motioning over the peanut or soda vender, or just taking in the sights, that slice of time is beautiful, and is arguably as American as anything ever. It is high time everyone gets the chance to experience those moments at one time or another. In a roundabout way, and almost ironic way, it could just be the catalyst to becoming a fan of sports, or at the very least, a fan of the great American pastime, baseball.
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