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Batter Up!

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There’s a bit of good luck following Baseball As America, which opens at the Great Lakes Science Center today. Every city that’s hosted the traveling exhibit -- which was put together by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum five years ago -- saw its team head to the playoffs in the fall: Chicago, Houston, and, last year, Detroit. “That’s our ulterior motive,” laughs Linda Abraham-Silver, president of the Great Lakes Science Center. “We’re hoping the streak continues.”

Baseball As America includes more than 500 artifacts from Cooperstown. “It appeals broadly to people,” says Silver. “You don’t have to be a fan to love and enjoy this show. It is the story of America, as seen through the lens of baseball.” Among the items on display: the trophy given to Lou Gehrig at his Yankee Stadium send-off; record-breaking home-run bats used by Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and Mark McGwire; and a chunk of the left-field wall from Boston’s famed Fenway Park. There’s also tons of baseball cards, clothing, and equipment on view.

Plus, Clevelanders get their very own take on the subject. Indians memorabilia, exclusive to the Great Lakes Science Center’s run, will also be on display. “We’re just a baseball town,” says Silver. Cy Young’s jersey, Lou Boudreau’s glove, and the ball Bob Feller used during his 1940 no-hitter against Chicago top the list. “It’s a mirror to our culture,” says Silver.

So why exactly is the Science Center hosting the exhibit? “There’s a lot of math and science in baseball,” says Silver. “Everything from physics to the science of the dirt on the field.” Interactive stations -- where you can test your fastball and curveball -- illustrate the methods behind the pitches. “It makes you appreciate all the science that’s part of our national pastime,” says Silver.
March 31-Sept. 3, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

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