Baseball: National Pastime?

Simpson students take in an Iowa Cubs game as part of Deano Pape’s SC 101 class titled “Baseball: National Pastime?”

Simpson College freshmen must take a Simpson Colloquium class their first semester, and one of the popular courses this year is being offered by Multimedia Communication instructor Deano Pape. 

The name — Baseball: National Pastime? 

Originally, the course was going to be part of the exercise science program. Then last spring, the original instructor, Jon Nachtigal, accepted a position at Georgia Tech.

Pape, who is also assistant director of speech and debate, took over the course. 

The original plan for the class was to analyze the strategies and history of baseball. Pape decided to take a different approach, choosing to focus the course in a more rhetorical angle.  

Students are trying to answer, is baseball still America’s favorite pastime? 

Simpson Colloquium classes are designed to help freshmen build writing skills. 

“Baseball is just topic matter in order for students to learn how to write, argue, and think critically” Pape said. 

When Pape took over and changed the course focus, students received the opportunity to change to another SC101 section, but none of the 20 dropped it.

 “We changed the course description and sent it to all the students, indicating more clearly it was going to be a rhetorical analysis of it,” Pape said. 

Students are watching films and writing papers to help them answer the question in the course’s title. The class just watched the movie “Moneyball” and wrote papers about how advanced analytics affect baseball. 

“You could take the position that advanced analytics have hurt baseball. You could argue that they have taken away from the human side of baseball. There’s all those different arguments to make,” Pape said. 

The students will watch and analyze another movie of their choosing and will make a presentation on that movie. Soon, students will write a paper summarizing the research of other baseball scholars. 

“The ultimate aim of that paper is to answer is baseball still America’s favorite pastime,” Pape said. 

First-year student Haleigh Hittle, who is enrolled in the course, said she enjoys most of the course. 

 “For the most part I like it,” Hittle said.  “All the paper writing I don’t like, though.” The final exam for the course will be a 15-page paper. 

Hittle is majoring in sports communications and she said the course will help her pursuing her major. 

“I feel like this is a good steppingstone to help me learn how I can connect ideas,” Hittle said. She added that the movie analyses are connecting the movies to the question they are trying to answer. 

Colloquium classes help first-year students meet new people and help them adjust to college life. The students often do social activities outside of class in a more relaxed setting. 

For instance, over Labor Day weekend, the class went to an Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines. The tickets were paid for and the students were given Cubbie bucks to spend at the stadium. Parking was also covered for the people that drove. 

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