How Can You Not Be Romantic About Baseball?

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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how can you not be romantic about baseball

It’s a general fact that baseball fans out there get so wild about the games. This attitude of being so wild about the game results from being solely invested in favorite MLB teams, players, and other heroes.

From a literal sense, one can instantly relate to the phrase how can you not be romantic about baseball. But for curious baseball fans, the famous quote is not just what it seems.

Read on to learn everything about this quote!


Where Did the Phrase Originate


It would be essential to supplement it with a core question: who said how can you not be romantic about baseball?

Perhaps the most popular source of the quote is Billy Beane’s character in the book-turned-movie Moneyball. Played by actor Brad Pitt, the character is based on a real person called William Lamar Beane III, as so is most of the story.

Another person credited for the quote is Ken Burns of 1994. Burns wrote and created a PBS-produced historical docu-series called Baseball.

Other fans even attribute it to the 1988 rom-com sports movie entitled Bull Durham. The film stars Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon. It is about a master catcher training a rookie pitcher in preparation for a major league game, only embroiled in a heated love triangle.

Since it would be impossible to settle on a single origin theory for the quote in question, we will be presenting all three possible origins further in the text. Note that this inquiry intends not to trace the actual origin of the quotes but simply the MLB cultural events that bring the quote to life.

1. Billy Beane from Moneyball

Just watch this video, and you instantly get a context or two as to why Billy Beane said the line. In the video, Brand can be seen talking to Beane while watching a clip of the Oakland Athletics featuring a particular catcher, Jeremy Brown, who went for it for the first time, despite the doubts, only to realize later that he hit the home run.

After replaying Jeremy Brown’s winning streak in the video many times over, both decided to stop the video. From whence Beane gave out the famous line “how can you not be romantic about baseball?”.

Beane could simply be referring to Baseball as an irresistible romantic desire from his point of view. However, he could also imply Baseball’s significance and perceived value to people of all ages.

“Baseball isn’t just baseball”: that is what they always say. Billy Beane only further cemented in the book and movie that Baseball also represented the people’s collective identity, memory, and history. One can only get so engrossed in a game to realize that camaraderie also happens at the moment.

The book most definitely featured the same line herein, but the movie catapulted it to fame.

2. Ken Burns of 1994

Ken Burns can be loosely credited to the popularization of the line. But unfortunately, there is no substantial evidence that can point to the line being spoken in his 1994 docu-series, Baseball.

That should be right because he did not speak in it. Instead, we can hear him voice out his romantic opinion about Baseball in a Men’s Journal interview.

In this interview, Burns can be quoted saying that “Baseball is more than just a pastime, and that it can be one of the best ways to understand the American past through narratives” [sic].

Burns is also a well-known storyteller. And from these swaggers and sways in his words, fans can instantly take a head-on grasp of his opinion as an implication of how difficult it is not to be romantic about Baseball.

Per the primary definition of being romantic as anything characterized by the expression of deep love and passion, Burn’s attestations are more than enough to prove that he is indeed romantic about Baseball.

3. Bull Durham Movie of 1988

However, we don’t get to hear or see the quote being delivered in the film. But, like in the case of Ken Burns, the fans attribute the line to the implications of the person’s romantic yearnings.

The romantic-comedy film, which is loosely based on director Ron Shelton’s experiences with a minor league, does more than implicate the said quote; it gave birth to many unforgettable romantic baseball quotes.

What Does the Famous Quote Mean


How can you not be romantic about baseball meaning could lead to one thing: it is a beautiful game for those who love it. And when you love something and become passionate about it, you don’t have to go defending it to people who don’t.

The amount of love a person can commit to a person, a thing, an event, or even a game such as a Baseball can be so immense that it requires no logical justification.

By its logic alone, Baseball, having rolled all the elements mentioned beforehand -like person, thing, and event- into one, is not difficult to love. The truth is that it is even more difficult, once you have loved it, to unlove baseball.

Whether we can or cannot trace the line’s origins, one truth remains universal. This truth speaks that Baseball is not just a game, but is most definitely, a cultural event, an idea, a reflection of history, etc.; Baseball is about us.


The answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, “you can’t not be romantic about baseball.” It is indeed impossible not to be romantic about Baseball.

Ask Billy Beane, Ken Burns, the rest of the characters in the film Bull Durham and you will know what we are talking about. Most notably, in this article, we learned that Baseball is more than just the game; it is the people.

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