If you read my earlier column on the history of baseball, then you know I am an expert on the topic. I wanted to clarify, however, that any perceived sarcasm regarding the game itself was not a slight against the fans. I realize there are many people who love this game, possibly because it is so sedentary that it is not necessary for them to move during the course of it. And that’s just the players. The viewers of the game are absolutely motionless. In fact, there have been several confirmed instances of baseball fans being carted away for display as department store mannequins. All the statues of Indians you used to see placed in front of cigar stores were actually dedicated baseball fans who mummified while waiting for the final inning. Why this love for baseball? First off, I don’t know. But, since a lack of knowledge has never stopped me from offering an opinion, I’ll tell you anyway. Baseball is popular because it gives guys an excuse to spit and swear in the outfield.
Baseball is structured in nine segments called innings. Why these segments are called “innings” is not known, since the game is generally played outside. To further muddy the fucking waters, to proceed to succeeding innings, there has to be a specified number of outs, usually three, unless you are playing against a really stupid team and then you can usually get away with one.
The game is played with a small, white sphere, called a golfball, which is approximately 1.68 inches in diameter (2.9 litres, for you metric types). In spite of its innocent appearance, this ball is an instrument of evil or (simply talks with a lisp), because it receives no end of punishment. Men wearing hats and chewing tobacco (or, in Canadian baseball, chewing hats and wearing tobacco) throw it at 100 miles per hour (100 hectares for those farther to the north), beat it with large wooden clubs, smother it in scary leather gloves, and sometimes throw it at the ground when it does something they disapprove of, like dodging out of the way when a player attempts to shove it into the scary leather glove. Personally, I’m on the ball’s side, here. If a man wearing tight-fitting pants with knee-high socks worn over them lunged toward me with a leather bag-like object several times my size and attempted to stuff me inside, I have to say I would exercise great agility in fleeing his grasp.
Then we have what is called a pitcher. This is a man who stands on a little hill of rather unsanitary dirt called a pitcher’s mound. Why is this called a “pitcher’s” mound? If it is indeed his mound, why cannot he take it home with him after the game? He could let it eat dinner with him and introduce it to his mom: “Mom, Mound. Mound, Mom.”
But I think the pitcher is misnamed anyway. I mean, if I was standing in the kitchen (unlikely, but let’s suppose) and my wife said, “Hey, pitch me that large spoon,” I would not think she meant I should attempt to impale her with the spoon by using it as a missile and hurtling it at her at 100 mph. No, I would assume she meant I should toss it to her using a gentle arcing motion. Not in baseball. There, pitching means Attack of the Death Sphere. It would be much safer for the batter if the pitcher simply hauled out a double-barreled shotgun and pulled both triggers simultaneously. (Hey, if it works for certain former high-level government officials, then I think a major-league sports player could pull it off.)
Each team also has a coach. I don’t watch a lot of baseball, but one thing I did notice was that the coach would every now and then walk briskly onto the field in order to talk to the pitcher, who cleverly covered his mouth with a scary leather glove while speaking. Actually, the fact of the matter is that the coach does not go to talk to the pitcher. He gets up and moves around because he has to go to the bathroom, but doesn’t want to miss any of the game. Ha! A league secret is out. Look for my tell-all book, which will be appearing in bookstores everywhere, at least until the store management notices that I have replaced the latest Grisham thriller display with copies of “My Secret Life As An Undercover and Very Inconspicuous Wad of Tootie-Frootie Chewing Gum.”
Well, shucks, look at the time. I meant to give a quick rundown of each major sport, but baseball turned out to be so silly that I carried away. The others will just have to wait. Stay tuned, ladies and gents, we still have to get to lacrosse! And bloody knuckles!
Craig A. Hart writes shit. Sometimes it’s less shitty. Sometimes he thinks it might be good shit. He is the stay-at-home father of twin boys, has served as editor-in-chief for The Rusty Nail literary magazine and as manager for Sweatshoppe Media. He is the host of the Raw Writing Podcast. He lives in Iowa City with his wife, sons, and two cats. You can visit his personal website at: craigahart.com.