They say there’s nothing more American than baseball. From the open air, the sweet crack of the bat, the smell of hot dogs on the grill, everything about baseball has always been associated with America. At Boshamer Stadium on an overcast Sunday afternoon, students line the stands to watch our boys in blue face ECU for the third time this week. Old men, the fathers of players, yell encouragement and criticism from the stands in a loud southern drawl. Students bring backpacks and laptops to do homework when the game stalls. Behind first base, where the students tend to gather, good ol’ boys shout crude jokes at the umpire when the action heats up. Everyone stands for the anthem. Out past right field, the American flag is displayed between flags of our school and state. There is a feeling here of patriotism, camaraderie, and fraternity. That isn’t to say women don’t enjoy the games just as well. Attendance here is about half of each sex. Baseball is a fringe sport at Chapel Hill so those that come consistently are deeply invested. There are those who come blissfully ignorant of this season’s record but most are snarling and gnashing teeth when the umpire calls a home run foul. The games are free and numerous throughout the season. It’s perfect for spring when the weather’s nice and it’s easy to get homework done in the fresh air.
UNC baseball is unlike other sports with a consistent following on campus. Unlike football fans or basketball players, our baseball program displays a sense of respect and patriotism. Fewer college baseball players go pro than do football or basketball players. These boys have a greater sense of loyalty to the Tar Heels. They aren’t as itching to break away and go pro at the first opportunity. Other schools produce an even better atmosphere at college baseball games. Ole Miss has their beer shower, and opening day in Gainesville is a sight to behold. This might be the last sport left free from the SJW crusade. For UNC’s conservative sports fans, I encourage you to come out for a game. See for yourself. You’ll feel right at home.