Baseball is the ultimate sport of bringing people together, and maybe that’s just the kind of advice America needs right now.
“This is the type of game that brings everybody from everywhere together,” said Alec Smith, the owner of Sacramento-area baseball academy Best Speed Baseball.
In Washington, D.C., the game brought Republicans and Democrats together for their annual Congressional baseball game Thursday. This year’s game struck a distinctly bipartisan tone after a gunman opened fire on lawmakers practicing for that game in Virginia yesterday.
“It’s extremely sad and extremely divided,” said Sacramento-area resident Staci Bettis. “It seems to me that everybody should come together and not be Democrats and Republicans – just be Americans.”
Some in Sacramento say the solution to the division may be a good old-fashioned game of baseball.
“We’re all in this together – there shouldn’t be any foes, there shouldn’t be any hatred towards one another,” Smith said. “At the very least, as a whole and as a nation, it should be able to bring people back together to enjoy [a] ballgame – to enjoy, like I said, America’s national pastime.”
Smith has been coaching baseball here in the area for nearly a decade. He believes there’s something unique about baseball.
“Just the atmosphere – eating a hotdog, being there, it’s family oriented, it’s generational,” he said. “There’s a lot of nostalgia with the sport.”
He has seen baseball build bridges between kids who likely would never have known each other.
“I’ve seen us come together,” he said. “We’re very socioeconomically diverse – we have kids who have nothing, we have kids who have everything and they come together for one common goal.”
Parents have the same experience while watching their kids on the field.
“That’s the best part of the game,” said Kristina Renn, as she watched her son practicing ahead of a game in Folsom. “Coming out here with other parents and just enjoying watching baseball and watching your kids play and watching them have a good time. I mean it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Smith said baseball offers a place for everyone to come together, regardless of background.
“A the end of the day, you respect everybody, you know and you fear no one and you don’t hate anybody,” he said of the game. “It’s all love.”