Essay: Evil Umpires? Not in Soviet Baseball

Not in Soviet Baseball

Although some Americans seem a bit skeptical about the news that Russians invented baseball, or lapta, as it has been known for the past 60 or 70 Soviet pennant races, the matter is old hat to knowledgeable fans. As Izvestia recently explained to its readers, Russian emigres brought their ancient national pastime to what is now California 200 years ago, with batters striking at a ball with a stick and fielders throwing the ball at opposition players to register outs.

The Russian origin of American baseball is a simple fact and a closed issue, but Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, jocularly dubbed...