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Old 08-26-2019, 12:28 PM
RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 42,602
Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
I'm from the Old World not the New, and my interest in sports is all but zero; however, something was brought to mind for me by current exchanges in MPSIMS, about Abner Doubleday and baseball. Things may be additionally clouded for me, by Harry Turtledove's alternative-history series where the Confederacy wins the Civil War in 1862, and successfully secedes. Please could folk enlighten me, as to the real world: does baseball thrive and have a big following in the south-eastern USA -- the area of the former Confederate States; or -- long memories and all that -- is it disliked there (a "Yankee" sport etc. etc.), thus "happening" there little or not at all?

(In Turtledove's "Southern Victory" universe, baseball is always a rather weird "niche" sport confined strictly to New England -- everywhere else in the USA and CSA, American football reigns sole and supreme; with detail differences in rules, between the two nations.)
Well, okay, that's fiction and should be ignored.

Baseball started in New York City and environs but was already unquestionably an America-wide obsession by the late 19th century. The first true professional baseball team was in Cincinnati, which is on the cusp of North and South.

Major League baseball, specifically, did not expand into the former Confederacy until 1962 (Houston) and shortly after Atlanta (1966) Dallas (1972) and Florida much later on. It should be borne in mind though that the early geographical restriction on Major League ball had nothing to do with popularity; it had everything to do with transportation. Baseball is played every day, and prior to reliable and affordable commercial air travel, it simply was not possible for a baseball league to practically span the whole continent. California, a hotbed of baseball, did not get a major league team until 1958 despite the fact that Los Angeles had been America's second greatest city for quite some time at that point - you just could not possibly have taken a train that far and not blown the schedule to pieces. Until the 1950s, there was no major league baseball south of Washington DC or west of St. Louis because there just couldn't be. Negro League ranged a bit further afield, but not by much; they certainly didn't go all the way to California.

Of course you may ask why baseball went to California before it did the South, since California is further. That's just where the biggest money was. The U.S. South didn't start growing huge cities in earnest until well after World War II.
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