Civic Artifact Pitch

Matthew Hladik

RCL Artifact Outline

Mrs. Hamilton

ENGL 137

Thesis: The baseball, as a civic artifact, can be seen as symbolic as a microcosm of America as it enters the decades that many consider to have attributed the loss of innocence in America. Like America, in the early days of the 20th century, baseball was the quintessentially American passion that tied all persons together. The young kids would play in the streets for the sheer fun of the game. As America progressed into the 1960s and 1970s, the strife and angst being displayed in the streets and popular culture were being reflected on the field. As America entered the golden age of the new millennium, the stars of baseball fell to drugs, similar to the drug crisis seen in around the country today.

Introduction: Everyone in this room at some point or another played baseball or softball when they were a kid. Close your eyes and think back to those days. You are standing out in the infield, its a cold March day and the wind is nipping at the hoody you have tucked under your jersey, you can see your parents proudly huddled in the stands rooting you on. From the bench you hear your coach call out, “Get baseball ready!” and you squat down with your glove out, ready to field the ball. You hear the crack of the bat and see the ball rolling towards you. You cannot wait to field it and throw the runner out. As it gets nearer and nearer you get more and more anxious until finally it is upon you and- it goes right through your legs. You can feel the tears welling up in your eyes but something stops you. A phrase keeps reiterating itself over and over again saying, “There’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying in baseball”. This line was made famous by the movie, “A League of Their Own” and it truly encapsulates the American culture surrounding baseball. The sport is ingrained in American society. Kids play baseball. The baseball as a civic artifact can be taken many ways. As the country has gone through changes, baseball has been right there beside it. Generations upon generations have played baseball and it is a common bond shared by many. From our great-grandparents, to our grandparents, and our parents, baseball, whether they enjoyed the sport or not, has been as an integral part of American culture as the apple pie. [insert thesis]

  1. 1920s-1950s America

a. “America’s Pastime”, the glory days of baseball.

b. Youth playing in the streets. The kids would play with anything they had just to play some semblance of the sport.

c. The influence of baseball on the soldiers in WWII and Korea- The hand grenades were designed to resemble baseballs because, “every American boy should know how to throw a baseball”. If a wounded G.I. was found, he would be quizzed about who won the most recent world series because every American would know that.

II. 1960s-1970s

a. Flag Burning on the Field- On April 25th, 1976, Rick Monday, the centerfielder for the LA Dodgers, prevented a flag from being burned by a fan on the field.

b. “Mrs. Robinson”, by Simon and Garfunkel- The song is written to allude to the perceivable loss of innocence in America as highlighted by the phrase that pays tribute to the class act of the Yankees, Joe DiMaggio by saying, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away?”

c. “The Bronx is Burning” Tensions are so high across the country in the summer of 1977 that the racial tensions spill onto the field of the Yankees when a black outfielder and white manager come to verbal blows.

III. 19902-Now

a. Steroid Epidemic- Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds headline stars in the late 90s early 2000s busted for PEDs. The epidemic was so bad that it was bought before Congress.

b. “Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is America’s passion”

c. Push to “Make Baseball Fun Again”- highlighted by Bryce Harper (baseball’s future superstar) wearing a “Make Baseball Fun Again Hat”.

This chronology will be developed through the eyes of each generation of kids. Every few decades is a new generation.

RCL It’s What I Do 3

After having been told by Gilles Peress that one day her boyfriend would cheat on her, Adarrio finds the emails that bring the foreshadowing to fruition. The scenes thereafter where she struggles with depression and the realization that Uxval had never loved her is especially vivid. Adarrio had loved him so wholly that she had even put her career on hold when it could be reaching new heights. She becomes incredibly depressed as she sees all that she is missing in the Middle East because she could not escape the intoxication of love. This scene is particular vivid and compelling to me because it reminds me of a song by, Kenny Chesney, called, “Being Drunk is a Lot Like Loving You”. Just as the song goes, she loved till she stumbled, and she loved till she fell. When the feeling of love (being drunk) was gone, she was left with the crippling depression (the hangover) and it hurt like hell. Addario makes excellent use of pathos to truly convey how heartbroken she is. Through the use of a flashback, Addario gives the reader insight into the fleeting nostalgia she feels when reminiscing about how great her life once was and she was doing what she loved, chasing stories in South Asia. After Uxval leaves her, she is reduced to being unable to eat anything and sustains herself off water and juice. Most readers can empathize with the feeling of being on top of the world to hitting rock bottom, which just adds to her clever use of pathos. The use of flashbacks to evoke pathos could be used in my speech about civic life as I tell an anecdote, so quintessentially American, that most of the members of the audience can relate or share the same emotions regarding said experience.


Addario never seems content to stay in one place. Her passion as a photographer leads her to yearn for adventure and takes her to new and exciting places. She never stays in one place too long and her story about Uxval leaves the reader reminiscing of a time in their life where they thought fleetingly about what might of been. She could have stayed but her passion, her true love, photography is what wins her heart as she decides to not pursue a future with Uxval. The story as whole is an allusion to her life. Everywhere Addario visits, something there touches her deeply, if almost, deeply enough to be considered love. Yet every time something, be it a beautiful town full of vibrant people, or a man named Uxval catches her heart, photography, her true passion wins out. This story is especially poignant to me because of its eerie similarity to a favorite episode of mine in the show, M*A*S*H. Lead character, Hawkeye, encounters his former lover, and still love of his life, yet cannot be her’s because his lover knows she will always be second to his work. Every time this scene plays out on TV I feel the pain of those two hearts being torn and I empathize with the internal agony that Addario must have felt when she chose to pursue photography.

While in my life I have never loved quite as deeply, I can still feel intense emotions when enjoying my passion, Penn State football. Ever since I was a little kid, every Saturday morning I would watch the Nittany Lions with my dad and twin brother. As I became older, and more aware of the game, I began to live and die with the team’s results each week. I still remember playing travel soccer and rushing home from the morning games to watch them take the field. If we had an away game, we would duck into a sports bar somewhere for “lunch”. These are some of my fondest memories and with this as my passion, I intend to keep a weekly blog of the happenings in Penn State football-their most recent game, with a recap- and any other games of note that have an impact on the Nittany Lions and their season.