By Andrew Nelson, Contributor
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is offering a new course this upcoming Spring semester for those students interested in the field of sports communication. It’s called “Baseball, Communication, and Culture,” (JOUR 4900/8906) and it is taught by Dr. Dave Ogden.
This class is a senior-level course, but Ogden invites students from any discipline who would like to learn more in depth about the sociological and cultural aspects in the game of baseball. The class is not closed and open for students looking to add a few more credits this upcoming Spring.
Ogden’s usual area of expertise is in public relations and broadcast/online journalism; however his research has been concentrated on the cultural studies of baseball. This is also the area he has a doctoral dissertation in.
Spring is just the third time in the past ten years that he’s offered this class which leaves it relatively unknown to students. The class may not be that known, but it is sure to interest many students from various backgrounds and different majors.
Some of Ogden’s own research will be discussed in the class including his studies on the relationship between African Americans and baseball, the differences in how men and women enjoy baseball and the effect of elite youth baseball on all levels of the game. This class will also explore the history of baseball journalism and press coverage as well as other topics.
Ogden says the class will feature one seminar via satellite from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and include a class at Papillion’s Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers. The last time the class was offered, several staff members and personnel of the back-to-back national Triple-A champion Storm Chasers came and spoke to the class.
Near the end of the semester, the class will take part in an old-fashion game of “town ball” using the Massachusetts rules from the mid-19th century. The game is an early concept of baseball that swept North America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Ogden is also attempting to contact MLB relief pitcher Tony Watson to come and speak to the class. Watson is a former Cornhusker who currently plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He earned his first All-Star game appearance this last summer where he retired the only batter he faced in the game.
Other sport-related courses in the social sciences offered by UNO in the past have included a sport sociology class taught by Dr. Don Greer, and a sports casting course taught by Dr. Mike Hilt. This sports-related course doesn’t come around very often and the content of it should intrigue any baseball fan.
Ogden says that the School of Communication has been “very gracious in allowing me to teach the class once in awhile.” The class is still open for next semester, so if you’re a baseball fan or just a sports fan in general looking to pick up a few more credits next semester, you are encouraged to enroll.