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Baseball is missing something that helped make it the biggest sport in the country, barnstorming.
Back in the early 1900’s travel wasn’t as easy as it is today, there was no television, and players were more accessible to the general public perhaps because they didn’t make exponentially more money than the average Joe.
So one of the ways people go to see some of the greats of the game was through the barnstorming teams that were popular for the time.
It’s a shame that barnstorming has gone the way of the horse and carriage. With the right people, it could still be viable today. However, it’s very unlikely that any current stars would partake. There is too much money to lose if something goes wrong.
It wasn’t that long ago that Oil Can Boyd created a barnstorming team with fellow former major leaguers Delino DeShields and Marquis Grissom. They traveled around trying to garner interest in the game from the black community.
I think there are enough characters left that are retired that could drum up enough interest in different areas. Include Bill Lee and you already have some star power that will make things interesting.
I think I lived in the wrong era of baseball. I would have loved to have seen some of the old barnstorming teams of the early 1900’s.
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.