Baseball: America’s national pastime, a game rooted in the past and in tradition. It’s a sport where, more than any other, you look back at the dominance of cheap replica jerseys
yesteryear.Talking points begin not with Barry Bonds, but Babe Ruth; not with Pete Rose, but Ty Cobb. Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Willie Mays are also the talk of many.There are many traditions in baseball. Some are limited to one team or ballpark, while others are practiced and celebrated throughout the league.The following is a list of 50 of baseball’s greatest traditions. They are in no particular order. Usually, it’s a local celebrity, a local hero or someone of that nature. For the first game of the season, it is typically the President of the United States who throws it out.The tradition began in 1910 when President William Taft threw out the first pitch at the Washington Senators game. For a time, the first pitch rotated to other cities, but now that Washington again has a franchise, the incumbent president usually throws out the first pitch in the Nationals game.Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesBefore we even get to the game itself, let’s look at other traditions involving either going to or watching the game.One of the major ones is simply buying food. Yes, it’s expensive these days, but it’s something you do nonetheless. There’s a reason food is mentioned in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”What constitutes baseball food, or stadium food, if you prefer? Some vary among location, but the staples are peanuts, hot dogs, Cracker Jack, nachos and the huge soda/pop that costs $5 and you know you’re not going to finish, but nonetheless you get that souvenir cup.There are many more too: pretzels, beer, ice cream the list goes on and on.While on the subject of peanuts and Cracker Jack, the anthem of the ballpark, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” is one all baseball fans know. Few know the full song, but everybody who’s seen a ball game knows the chorus.Harry Caray is likely the most well known man to sing this. The longtime Cubs announcer began singing it to himself in his booth as the White Sox announcer when Bill Veeck turned his mic on, letting him sing it to the crowd. When he moved to the Cubs and Wrigley Field, it became a tradition.The popular origin of this, though it’s most likely legend, is that during a 1910 game, President Taft got up to stretch in the middle of the seventh, and out of respect, the crowd joined him as well.I’m not sure where this tradition began, though it seems to be most known as something the Rangers do. In reality, it’s a special event several times a year throughout the country.The dollar hot dogs themselves are great enough, but what makes them tradition is what goes along with it. Getting one and trying them with different toppings, buying 10 and challenging your friends to an eating contest or even just buying the one and getting right back to the game all are enjoyable.Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesIn this day and age, people can be untrustworthy. You keep an eye on others and make sure they don’t steal anything from you, and people can be reluctant to help others.Yet all that is thrown out the window in baseball.Many vendors come by, and whether they’re selling peanuts, ice cold beer or popcorn, you shout for it, and all you have to do is pass your money down the row. No matter who your seatmates are, they’ll give it to the vendor, who passes your purchase down, and you get it without any problems. You won’t find that kind of service anywhere else.