If I may beg the dear readers’ pardon, I’d like to take this week’s column to give my daughter an introduction to Baseball, the former American Pastime (having been firmly supplanted by football and Kardashian-watching). This year is her first time playing softball and seeing as I don’t know anything about softball other than they throw a larger ball and do so underhanded, I’ll just give her an overview of baseball.
First, you need to know the goal as one is rarely successful if one doesn’t know the overall goal to a sport. In baseball, it is the singular goal to start somewhere and end up at the same place more often than the other team. Granted, it doesn’t sound like the loftiest of goals, but it is an old game and you have to take that into account when judging the validity to one’s goal.
In order to achieve this goal, you need to grab a weapon in the form of a large bat and stand in front of a guy with a Hannibal Lecter mask on as well as in front of a guy with a similar mask and a tendency to make unrecognizable vocal sounds at intermittent intervals. You then stand there for a while, occasionally swinging the bat in the hopes of hitting a rock covered with leather and stitched thread that has been soaked in the blood of our ancestors (okay, I made that last part up, but the fanatical…well, fans, take this sport really seriously).
In the extremely unlikely event that contact is made between the bat and the baseball, you have to run in a counter-clockwise motion around a diagonal square with the seat cushions of a golf cart placed at its points. In all likelihood you’ll end up stopping at the first cushion and stay there until your friends walk away in frustration, upon which you will head back to the dugout, grab a folded-over piece of a former cow and return to the field.
Upon doing so, you’ll take up one of a number of positions where it is vitally important to wave your fingers in the air and then scratch yourself in the groin area for a good fifteen minutes. Ultimate victory cannot be obtained without a copious amount of scratching…and spitting helps, too. The ball is thrown by someone called a pitcher. A pitcher needs to be played by the most sadistic person on your team. It helps if they have been in prison recently, possibly earlier in the same day as the game. For, you see, their job is to hurl a baseball, or “sphere of death” as I call it, at an opponent and occasionally hits them, resulting in concussion or limb loss.
This nonsense is repeated until each team as the opportunity to be possibly maimed by a baseball nine times, upon which the number of times a single person has stepped on a golf cart’s seat cushion four times is tallied and a winner declared. There is then much drinking and spitting and, of course, more scratching.
These events occur 162 times before the best teams play each other to get a trophy and the privilege of causing much champagne to be coated to every uncovered square inch of their locker room. The players then collect millions of dollars and enter rehab for the remainder of the year.
So anyway, my dear daughter, that’s baseball…any questions?