The Definition of Home

Lazy Afternoon at a Baseball Game

Lazy Afternoon at a Baseball Game

I am currently reading a book on baseball and philosophy. I have always been intrigued by baseball’s status as America’s game and what the sport’s traits and history supposedly tell us about America and its culture. One of the essays in the book is “There’s No Place Like Home” by Joe Kraus. The title is intriguing especially for someone who is trying to figure out the concept of home if the town one was raised in and where most of one’s family still lives is not on the same continent as one’s current residence.

Kraus mentions that the rules of baseball are usually taken for granted by those who grew up with this game, but these rules raise intriguing questions if experienced by someone without any baseball background: why do we call it “home”, why does home count only after you leave and return, and why is there also a home team and a homefield advantage if both teams need to come home?

Baseball Batter

It becomes clear that home is surprisingly difficult to define on and off the baseball field. The point that one must leave home in order to be able to come back full circle to home when it actually counts as a run highlights for me the nostalgia that is so often associated with baseball. And it also raises the more general question – do we need to leave home, travel and overcome difficulties and challenges before returning home to be truly able to value home? Do we only then realize that home counts? The goal in baseball is always to get home, so does this also apply to life in a more general sense? Kraus states “you need to know both the idea of home and the real threat of getting out in order to experience the satisfaction of truly making it home” (10).

Bronson, Eric. Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box. Chicago: Open Court, 2004.