…so says Sam Frank, who adds :
The terrorists”or, at least, the liberal historians who’ve invaded our university system and demoralized us patriotic Americans”have won.
.From Mark Lamster in last Sunday’s NY Times Book Review, and his review of David Block’s “Baseball Before We Knew It : A Search For The Roots Of The Game”.
Medieval texts suggest baseball’s English antecedents may themselves have descended from Continental bat-and-ball games. An illustration in ‘The Romance of Alexander,” a French manuscript from 1344, depicts a group of monks and nuns engaged in a game, thought to be ”la soule,” that looks a lot like coed softball (no sign of a keg, however). Two
other French games, ”thÃ©que” and ”la balle empoisonÃ©e” (”poisoned ball”), also bear similarities to early baseball. Could they have migrated to England? The record is vague, meaning, in Block’s words, the field is clear for the French to claim ”parental rights over America’s National Game.”
Even these games, however, may be recent developments. In 1937, Corrado Gini, an Italian demographer, found a remote group of blond-haired Berber tribesmen in the Libyan desert playing a game, ”ta kurt om el mahag” (”the ball of the pilgrim’s mother”), that bore an unmistakable resemblance to American baseball. Gini’s conclusion: the game had been introduced from northern Europe, along with the genetic strain of blond hair, during the Stone Age.