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“Mr. October” ~ Reggie Jackson WS1977

We’ve been watching the World Series.

As I’ve pointed out on previous occasions, I’m not a huge baseball fan.

I know relatively more about say, football, basketball, hockey, among the big four.

I have excellent knowledge of tennis and volleyball. I get badmitton and table tennis. I know horseshoes and croquet. I get soccer mostly.

Handball and cricket not so much.

So I can make comparisons with some degree of authority.

I used to watch more baseball when I was young. It was often all that was on back in prehistoric television. Here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. Baseball makes failure acceptable. Who else could be paid millions of dollars for failing two-thirds of the time? In rough economic times, it’s nice to know that some folks are raking in the dough by essentially doing badly MOST of the time.
  2. There is essentially no dress code in baseball even for the players. “Being you” is encouraged. Other than the basic jersey, pretty much anything goes. Short pants or long, undershirts with long or short sleeves or not, all manner of jewelry, from braided rope (have no idea what that is about) to the obligatory bling of rope chains can be seen.
  3. Tattoos are de rigueur. Earings not so much.
  4. Back in the day, players didn’t wear gloves (other than the required baseball GLOVE which now comes in all manner of colors by the way to make a complete fashion accessory). Now, no self-respecting batter will approach the plate without a pair. In my day, as the batter awaited the pitcher’s delivery, he stopped to pull at his shoulder material, and give an obligatory pat to his crotch. Nowadays, it’s all about pulling  loose the velcro straps of the gloves and readjusting them. After every pitch, they need this readjustment. Crotches, once the center of attraction, have mostly been forgotten.
  5. Spitting is still required. Now this has always been a puzzlement. Nobody else spits a lot in sports. Only in baseball. In fact, nobody else in sports chews tobacky, a thoroughly disgusting thing in the first place. But a lot of them chew gum. We know not why. But apparently baseball causes abnormal creation of saliva and this must be expectorated. All for the cameras to catch on our new 62″ screens. Or it maybe a genetic thing that men have the urge to spit on dirt. I just don’t know.
  6. Baseball shares with football the fact that fans have an insane desire to look stupid before cameras. They dress up in all manner of get-ups to support their team. I saw a pair of “hotdogs” the other night. It wouldn’t be so bad, but surely you know they did not dress in the stands. No, they actually exited their home in somebody’s neighborhood, got in a vehicle and proceeded to scare the dickens out of other drivers along the freeway.  I don’t know about you, but I’d keep my kids off the street if I saw my neighbor walking around dressed up as a hotdog.
  7. I can’t speak for other places, but Texans eat a lot during baseball games. We saw one woman sitting behind home plate, virtually eat for the entire game. I would recommend eating at home. And while we are on the subject, you folks behind home plate? You guys get lots of face time on the tube. Your mugs are broadcast all over the US of A, and in some other parts of the world. It may be acceptable to place you finger in your nose in Austria, but in the US, it’s considered, well, NOT the thing to do. Best to just sit on your hands.
  8. Texans pray a lot during baseball games. Hands are often seen in a prayerful position, especially right before an important pitch. It appears that Texans think God cares. He doesn’t.
  9. During my day, hard hats for batters was just coming into fashion. When the batter got a hit, his hat always fell off as he ran around the bases. Now, I note, it does not. I don’t know why that is.
  10. All manner of players and coaches still engage in bizarre “signals” which require patting one’s head, touching one’s nose, pulling at the jersey, making figure eights around one’s stomach, standing on one foot, and flapping one’s arms. I saw a third baseman engage in  a prolonged “signal” right before another of those important pitches, and then when the expected thing happened, nobody did what he signaled them to do. I’d rethink that whole thing. (They have little ear receivers now guys)
  11. Baseball players continue to make mistakes, and for this they still get millions of dollars. There are at least two errors per game in this World Series, and these are supposed to be the BEST players. This game must be a good deal harder than it looks.
  12. Speaking of errors. In football, when a player makes an error, the referee turns on his mike and announces to the entire stadium who the culprit was. In baseball, it’s pretty much obvious to everyone. Baseball is kinder in that sense.
  13. Speaking of errors. The refs make them too. Except in baseball, nobody corrects them. In most sports now they use sensors or replays and correct errors. Here they don’t. Even when they are agregious. Even when they change who wins or loses. Even when it makes a difference in the record books. I don’t know why this is so either.
  14. Laura Bush was on camera a lot. Laura is funny. She’s a bit like Pat Nixon used to be. Pat Nixon always looked like a woman who had no clue where she was, and frankly she looked long-suffering. Laura doesn’t look like that. Laura looks like she once saw a picture of the Mona Lisa and thought that looking mysterious was sexy. But it only makes you vacant looking. I guess that’s a bit like looking like you don’t have a clue where you are.
  15. I feel most sorry for Nolan Ryan’s wife. She doesn’t like baseball.  You can tell.
  16. In fact, you can tell which fans like baseball (they have worried faces, and have their hands in prayer a lot), and those who don’t. Those who don’t look vacant a lot like Laura. And they look at other people and things and seldom at “where the action is.”
  17. The cameras seldom go to those poor souls relegated to the outfield. Who they are is irrelevant, they are simply right, center and left fields. They are definitely not where the action is. Well, almost never. Sometimes never. They stand around a lot. I’ve always thought they had an under-the-table bit of action going out there with “fans”. Gun running, or cocaine smuggling I figure. Since nobody pays much attention to them. When the coach sends you to the “outfield” you know you are OUT of favor. 

That’s all I’ve learned so far. There is at least a game or two left, so my education may continue. I’ll let ya know.