‘Trivia’s not important’: Matthew Andrews uses baseball to teach history

“Baseball is one of the sports that everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Mark Twain has written about,” Andrews said. “I knew that as a history course, I did not want it just to be baseball stories. I did not want it to just be baseball trivia.”

Instead, Andrews uses baseball as a way to explore segregation and desegregation, class conflict, the feminist movement and how the sport, as the national pastime, defines U.S. culture.

“There’s no sport that has meant more to Americans throughout American history than the game of baseball,” Andrews said. “The general narrative now is that baseball is no longer Americans’ favorite sport — and that’s probably right to an extent — but for 150 years, that sport was said to symbolize everything in this country.”

He said the class is a mix of baseball fans, history students and those who have taken classes with Andrews before and want to take more.

“Without a doubt, I have a lot of baseball fans in there,” Andrews said. “I can tell, on the first day I come in and there are a lot of Atlanta Braves shirts and hats.”

Meredith Norman…

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