Look, don’t get me wrong, folks. As an adamant stickler for tradition and a lifelong, self-confessed purveyor of pomp, it is widely known that I don’t take to change too well, especially when it comes to my precious national pastime. Indeed, I take pride in knowing that the game I watch is the same game my dad watched, the same game his dad watched, and his dad before him.
In baseball, there is no cavernous divide between generations. No peach baskets. No leather helmets. No prerequisites of toothlessness. No. Not in baseball. The baseball game of the early 20th century is the baseball game of the early 21st century. And that, dear readers, is a beautiful thing.
But what isn’t beautiful is always being late to the party. The NFL, the NBA, heck, the NHL… all three leagues had their very own networks before MLB finally made the move for its own. David Stern has taken the NBA all over the world with wild success — and the NFL has somehow convinced us all that from Week 10 to Week 17, we just GOTTA have a game on Thursday night!
One could even say that baseball’s public eye mediocrity is perhaps rooted in its stuckupedness — a trait that I am guilty of championing.
Alas! A chance for redemption!
Did you know there’s a friggin’ Lingerie Football League!?!?
I just found out about it. But I’m a fan. Big time.
And since (as far as I can tell) it appears the NFL has nothing to do with the league, I see an opportunity for Major League Baseball to finally make its mark as a trailblazer in the alternative sports industry. Ah, yes… I can see it now… during the cold, wintry months… 9 beautiful women versus 9 beautiful women… positioning fields in comfortable, indoor stadiums… whilst in… their underwear (if you could see me you’d see me smiling right now).
Damn it, SELIG! Are you listening?!?! I’m trying to sell you a goldmine here! And have you seen the price of gold lately?
Hate me ‘cuz I’m addicted to the female form, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Although I believe in the evolution of baseball, some things I refuse to support. For instance, I don’t like pink versions of baseball caps. I’m completely in favor of teams coming out with alternate uniforms and including alternate headgear styles in that. It’s a great way for a team to make money and I suppose that if a team had pink in their uniform color and decided to make a pink hat to go with it, I could support that. But they don’t. Ergo, no pink hats.
The thing I dislike the most, though, and it has been mentioned here before, is people doing the wave during a game. Yes, I understand that sometimes the proceedings can be a little boring. However, one of the beautiful things about baseball is that you never know when excitement might happen. That’s why you pay the money to come to the ballpark and that’s why you try not to drink too many over-priced beers. But if you’re watching the other side of the stands to figure out when you should stand up and wave your hands in the air, chances are that you’re no longer paying attention to the game. And that is a shame.
This is why I proudly display the following:
I know I’m ahead of my time and I know I’ll be ridiculed for making this stand. Or sit. But someone has to do it and that someone could also be you. Join us and help stop this menace before it it invades other areas of your life. Just imagine if they made your kids do the wave during school assemblies. I bet you’d do something then. Don’t let it come to that.
It’s that time of year again. Interleague play. I seem to remember you
guys aren’t big fans of it. Is that still true?
Jeff is the hardcore traditionalist out of the two of us. He still makes the sign of the cross and spits to ward off the evil eye whenever he hears the words “Live Ball Era.” Me, I’m a realist. Maybe interleague play belongs only to the World Series but baseball survives because people are willing to spend money on coming to games. And the reason they come to games is to be entertained.
Let’s face it, interleague play is entertaining. Outside of the artificial milieu of the All-Star game, it’s our only chance to see how the two leagues match up against each other. It allows for natural rivalries that we probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. When is the next time the Reds and Indians are going to face each other in a World Series? Yeah, not freakin’ likely.
Like I said earlier, baseball runs on money and interleague play definitely makes money. There are special jerseys, commemorative bric-a-brac and god knows what else to go along with these series. Add in all the hype from places like ESPN who are practically falling over themselves to broadcast the Mets and Yankees and you have the recipe for some serious dough.
So I say keep it coming. Sure, it takes away from important divisional games and maybe it distorts the full effect of the World Series. But it also pays for the Nationals to put in Ben’s Chili Bowl at their ballpark and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
That’s because, as I write this, Major League pitchers and catchers are reporting to their respective training camps; and after a long, cold, hard winter of Brad Lidge, Milton Bradley and Kyle Farnsworth bashing, we can all finally relax knowing our hallowed game is springing back to life.
A year ago this week, my cynical and oft busy-body colleague Mr. Allen Krause, and I took to the streets of Chicago to proclaim our undying crush on the game of baseball. Luckily for you there was a film crew following us, not to mention an ebullient David Archuleta, who lent us his tunes, to make a point.
And as we hope will be a long and prosperous tradition of ringing in the new baseball season, we (re)present to you the definitive RSBS tradition:
Hell yes, we love our baseball and no, we aren’t afraid to show it.
Now, aren’t ya glad I didn’t write that Evan Bayh piece I was workin’ on?
Nah. You can’t hate me today. ‘Cuz you know I’m right.
When an American League baseball team plays in a National League park, the pitcher bats. We don’t question this, even if we are die-hard fans of the designated hitter. It’s tradition and respect. Similarly, if I decide to head to Alabama or Arkansas, I know that I’m going to get weird looks if I ask for a soda or a pop. It’s perfectly appropriate and so much easier to just ask for a coke and then name my flavor.
So, the question is, if so much of American culture is based on reverence for tradition and institutions, why is there such an uproar over our ultimate representative respecting those same institutions in other countries?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t the most graceful bow ever. But, by the same token, have you ever watched an American League pitcher try to hit? Yeah, for a highly trained and highly paid athlete it sure isn’t pretty. But it’s part of the respect that one league pays the other in baseball.
Listen conspiracy mongers, here’s how it breaks down. There’s nothing
wrong with being respectful of other countries and cultures. In fact,
if the people planning the invasion of Iraq would have known the first
thing about the culture and people in that country, we wouldn’t be
dealing with nearly 4,300 American lives lost and over 30,000 wounded.
Those who like to chatter in the blogosphere will continue to make a big deal of this incident and the right-wing pundits are enjoying every second of it. But if we took enough time to think about and respect the traditions of other countries as much as we respect who bats ninth in a National League ballpark, maybe this wouldn’t be what the world thinks all Americans are like:
–Photo from http://www.newser.com