2. World Series
What “World?” The teams eligible to compete in the Fall Classic barely extend to Canada. Putting the name “World Series” on a matchup of the American and National League champs is pure American exceptionalism: If your team is the best in America, it must be the best in the world. Granted, not a lot of the world cares about baseball, but even in the first half of the 20th century the game had taken hold north and south of the U.S. borders, as well as in Japan.
The World Series smells like the American fall: the crisp air of evenings turning cool and then cold; the crackling leaves turning color in a blaze of dying glory. How do we know that baseball is the most American of games? Because Walt Whitman (“it's our game … has the snap, go fling, of the American atmosphere — belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life”) and Jacques Barzun (“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had best learn baseball”) told us so.