Can Baseball Save America —Again?
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2009 5:30 PM CDT
A fan makes his way up to the top of the upper deck in left field during an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees Saturday, April 4, 2009, at Yankee Stadium in New York.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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(Newser) – Players like Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth inspired America to endure the Great Depression, but with the season kicking off tonight, can overpaid and steroid-ridden players still mean something in hard times? Eric Spitznagel hits the spring training circuit for Vanity Fair to find out—and puts the question to feverish fans, blank-eyed players, and gob-spitting managers. "It inevitably comes back to just one thing," Spitznagel writes: "Daddy."

Yes, that Field of Dreams emotional bond is still the soothing ointment of America's game. But then Spitznagel spots a player signing a ball for an irritating fan, and he wonders if that's baseball heroism, to tolerate our "obnoxious sense of entitlement." Finally he is enlightened by the sight of a fan who stubbornly refuses to leave during a downpour. "This is baseball’s true recession metaphor, and it has nothing to do with the players," Spitznagel writes. "I just can't decide of it's a good thing."