Paul Jacob

Baseball was once America's game. Now football and basketball have muscled in, offering a faster pace that better fits our television age.

I love sports, all of the above and more, but there is something special about going to the ballpark to watch a baseball game. It remains one of life's greatest pleasures. The pop of the catcher's mitt: strike one. The crack of the bat. Relaxing on a sunny day or a warm evening with a hot dog in hand, watching and talking with friends or family.

At a baseball game, there's actually time for conversations. That alone makes it a voyage back in time.

Freedom used to be America's game, too. But these days, not really so much anymore. Today the more popular game is nannyism: A government of experts and do-gooders always telling us what to do.

For instance, how long do you really think we're going to be allowed to eat hot dogs? They'll come for the Cracker Jacks, too.

Which brings us back to baseball, and to New York, baseball's most storied real estate. This is the city that boasted the Babe, punched the clock with baseball's Iron Man, streaked with DiMaggio, did goodness knows what (in addition to winning) with Mantle, dubbed Reggie Jackson "Mr. October" and has enjoyed no fewer than two World Series championships in every decade since the 1920s. And that's just the Yankees.

Once upon a time the city also hosted the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Back on August 11, 1951, the Dodgers had a 13 and a half game lead on the Giants, with only 44 games left. But the Giants won 37 of their last 44 games to end the season tied with the Dodgers for first in the National League.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.