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Robert Whiting

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Baseball, the Power and Glory of the Grande Old Game: Views from Foreign Fields

by Wray Herbert (Nov 1989)

Two cross-cultural examinations of baseball are not properly baseball books at all, although both use the quintessential American game as a lens through which to see other cultures. Robert Whiting's You Gotta Have 'Wa' is about Japanese baseball, and the wa of the title is Japanese for unity and team spirit. Wa encompasses such things as not kicking dirt on umpires' pant legs (bowing is more appropriate), not making errors (one American player with three hits on the day was yanked by his manager when he bobbled a ball at second, in order to placate the fans) and not visiting dying relatives if it means missing a game – and thereby harming the team's wa.

Needless to say, many American imports to besuboro are confused by this un-American baseball culture and do not fare well; indeed, though Japanese teams hire American talent at high salaries, most Americans leave or are released in short time – usually for some violation of wa.

John Krich's El Beisbol is as much a Pan-American travelogue as it is a book about baseball, though the author does visit ballparks and talk to retired ballplayers in countries from Mexico to Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic.

The book is a [end of the article is partly illegible].

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