Baseball And Gambling In Eric Rolfe Greenburg's The Celebrant

Great Essays
Baseball and Gambling have been corresponding with each other ever since the late 19th Century. For the most part, the relationship would be best described as a commensalism one where baseball was solely changed while gambling maintained its status. Eric Rolfe Greenburg, author of The Celebrant, does a great job in portraying this relationship early on. Analyzing the association of the two in the novel, it is clearly seen that gambling has helped raise the popularity of baseball, affect the quality of the sport, and changed how society views the game. In the beginning of its time, baseball was looked down upon from upper class business men who never associated themselves with it. People considered baseball as a boy’s sport and not a career …show more content…
Although some clients accepted the invitation, others declined because they didn’t want their reputation to be associated with gambling and baseball. This continued until Christy Mathewson changed the character of baseball gambling. Christy became the example that a person could be an educated man while still being a ball player. In Mister Sonnheim’s club, the party decides to play bridge and Christy explains what gambling truly is and how society misunderstands the meaning: “A competition for stakes is a far cry from gambling. God forbid that I should gamble; I find it atrocious, and its practitioners are the worst of men” (Greenburg 87). He explains that the matter of gambling is far more in depth than the black and white definition most of the gentlemen have been raised to understand. Christy Mathewson is a well-developed character, but one of his purposes in the novel was to bring the opposing social classes together in a baseball stadium. After the dinner at the club, the tone of baseball gambling shifts and it becomes more accepted than it used to. As a result, more of the upper class starts attending baseball games which causes an …show more content…
Even though gambling may have helped baseball’s reputation for the better, it crippled the worth of the game. As popularity increased, so did the wagers. Greenburg allows the readers to understand how much gambling affected the sport by his character Eli. Eli started off baseball gambling by placing small bets on games or plays. Soon, Eli realizes how much money is able to be made and starts betting more and more. In the beginning of the second chapter, Eli explains how he was able to make enough money off of gambling from the last baseball season to buy a brand new Daimler automobile (Greenburg 55). Eli repeatedly earns a second salary and continues to gamble on baseball by steadily increases his wagers more and even comments to Jackie, “ Since they closed the tracks there’s a lot of dumb money afloat at the ballparks” (Greenburg 217). Eli wouldn’t necessarily represent all of society by his gambling, because most people would not be able to afford how much Eli wagered, but Eli does represent the growth of gambling throughout baseball. Along with Eli, more people became aware of how much money is affiliated with baseball gambling. Hal Chase, a ball player, even comments, “Well, that’s when I saw my way clear. I’m a professional ballplayer. I do it for money, and if there’s more money in losing than in winning, shit if I care” (Greenburg 172). Players started to throw games because they discover

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