Thursday, October 30, 2008

Communication in the Field, Baseball, that is...

So naturally I'm thinking about baseball today here in Philadelphia, so I thought I'd look for some communication scholarship on the subject. I crossed search several social science databases including Communication Abstracts and found a fair amount to choose from. This 2002 article from the Journal of Sport and Social Issues (Volume 26, Number 4) jumped out at me. I've selected to feature it in honor of two Phillie Latino heroes, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Feliz, both instrumental in securing the World Championship for Philly. It's called Who's the Man? Sammy Sosa, Latinos, and Televisual Redefinitions of the "American" Pastime, by Jane Juffer.

Latino and Latin American baseball players have expanded the boundaries of the "American pastime," asserting their ethnic and national identities even while being accepted as representatives of the sport most closely aligned with a white United States identity.
This redefinition is achieved in part via cable and satellite technologies that carry images of Latinos to homes throughout the United States at a time when the Latino population is growing and becoming more dispersed raising the possibility that baseball will lessen racism and xenophobia. However media coverage is at times nostalgic for a more bounded sense of home and nation and often emphasizes players' individual mobility, erasing the economic and political conditions that have brought Latin American players to the United States. The author shows how these tensions play out in Chicago superstation WGN's coverage of Cubs star Sammy Sosa, who has emerged as a national hero in both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

The article is available from Sage's Full Text Collection, from the Penn Libraries homepage.

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