Jason Markovitz is from California, and I am from the East Coast. I have known Markovitz for two weeks. Remarkably, in those two weeks, we have twice discussed the merits of In-N-Out Burger versus those of 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Being from Cali, he holds a West Coast bias that I believe pushes his opinion of In-N-Out burgers above reality. Admittedly, I likely hold an East Coast bias that pushes my hometown burger joint above its actual tastiness—whatever, 5 Guys is clearly better.
I know what you’re thinking. Who, aside from the Hamburglar, spends 85 words on burger talk?
Well, I think that there is some significance to a situation where a group of people are pushed to frequently talk about cross-country cheeseburgers. The same significance is present whenever a person is blasted by reggaetón* only to walk two feet and catch a hook by country music star Jason Aldean. Situations similar to these two will likely be found in every professional baseball clubhouse. The cause leading to these occurrences is that professional baseball mashes together young men from as many backgrounds as there are Minor League mascots.
Yes, in any clubhouse, massive are the distinctions between a player’s geographic background, level of education, financial background, language(s) spoken, cultural heritage, etc. In fact, I challenge any reader to bring forth a profession whose workers come from as wide a spectrum as those who work in professional baseball.
What does it matter that a baseball clubhouse is a current day melting pot? In my opinion, the diverse atmosphere is a result of a system that should be heralded as a model. At its highest level, the baseball world is one of merit. The barrier to entry is simple and clear: you have to be good. If you grow up with a ball and a glove, some talent and a will to work, a bat and a dad who cares about you, you’ve got a chance. No matter the language you speak, the amount of money in your wallet, or the brain in your head, you’ve got a chance.
Within America’s pastime is an embodiment of America’s commitment to being a land of opportunity. And you may be thinking that these open opportunities are present everywhere in the US of A. To that I say, think about the people against whom you compete for a position or who share your profession. Do they look like you, talk like you, and live in places similar to yours?
Somewhere, below the surface, are reasons why your answer to that question is probably yes, while a baseball player’s answer to that question is no.