Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/397

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365
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

the winter maneuvers in the West Indies, and whenever opportunity offers in the summer and fall cruises the tests are carried on.

"Many games are played between teams representing vessels of the Navy and posts of the Army whenever a vessel of the Navy happens to be stationed in the vicinity of one of the shore posts. The officers who have the responsibility of the administration of the enlisted personnel of the Navy recognize Base Ball as one of the very best influences in connection with the discipline of the ship, not only for the men who actually engage in the game but for the very much larger number of men who are interested spectators. The spirit of the crew of each ship in behalf of their Base Ball team runs very high and there is a healthy rivalry stimulated, not only to develop the best possible teams but to keep the good conduct classes of the vessels large, so that each vessel may have the largest delegation of 'rooters' at the games. The possibility of being debarred from going ashore to witness a ball game is probably a most efficient influence towards preserving discipline and good conduct on ships during the Base Ball season.

"The officers take an active interest in the game, and the training of the ship's team is directed by an officer who has played ball at Annapolis and who generally acts as captain of the team.

"The influence of the game, as far as I am able to ascertain, is most beneficial and it is heartily encouraged by the Department as a means of giving the men rational enjoyment and to make them contented with the service. It is claimed by officers who have had charge of Base Ball teams that where a team has been kept together for a considerable period of time Base Ball playing is developed that would do credit to professionals.

"While foot ball is also encouraged as one of the sports of the enlisted men, it has never secured the popularity and has never been developed to so high a point as has been the fact with Base Ball.

"I trust that the above will be of interest to you and that it will answer the purpose of which you write.

"Very truly yours, "Paul Morton,
"Secretary, U. 8. Navy."

As regards Base Ball in the Army, it is pleasant to note the fact that the national game is by far the most popular form of sport known to our national defenders, the rank and file of the regular army; but it will be readily understood that, under our system, in times of peace not many men are stationed at any one point in our country, and hence but little is heard of the games played at small