The World Cup is an important global event in which the US usually plays a very peripheral role. That was certainly the case this year as the US made it out of their group but lost in the Round of 16. The World Cup inevitably draws contrasts between soccer's global even universal popularity and the American people's stubborn preference for baseball. This is, of course, a false contrast as baseball is popular in much East Asia, the Caribbean and increasingly in a few other countries besides the US. Soccer, while the world's most popular sport, has failed to catch on in many parts of South Asia and is one of several popular sports in Australia, parts of East Asia and North America.
Thomson’s death feels like the passing of an era that actually ended decades ago. The home run occurred when baseball was played in black and white, New York had three teams, and a radio broadcast of a ballgame to a soldier in Asia was considered an impressive technological feat. The home run belongs to a time, city, and even country of the long ago past, but somehow it can still make a young father feel compelled to share the event, which occurred years before he was born, with his young son and an make an aging veteran still feel his monthly paycheck slipping away just as Thomson’s fly ball slipped over the left field fence and into history.