The dirt is spread around the field in an orderly fashion but by whose rules and by whose dimensions? Abner Doubleday's? Yes, lets say it was Doubleday because no one really knows. The dirt could be seen as haphazard unless you know what you are looking for because you had been told all your life what you should be looking for. The worshippers in their cult-like fervor can debate one wrong measurement in the infield and be happy that they were alive to experience the time when someone graffitied upon the ten commandments because that’s what baseball is, a series of random and fateful bounces and mistakes, much like the universe's existence. Was the wrong measurement done on purpose by the home team to get some sort of advantage over the visitors or was it a simple mistake a random occurrence in 500,000? Well, no one will ever know because the bishops and cardinals wouldn't want to call out one of their own. Things are pretty quiet about things that don't make sense.
The home team ended up winnning the game because the ball wound up hitting the base where it usually would have been out of play and careened away from the fielder allowing the man on second-base to score. Prior to the game, the fans had noticed the error in dimension, both teams had noticed the error in measurement, the umps saw it too but no one said anything because everyone wanted to see what would happen if something happened and happen it did in the bottom of the 9th of a tied game. It was the All-Star game for fuck sake, the most feckless of exhibitions in which not even the best players participated. It was for the players who had the face, body-type and mannerisms that caused the most rabid of fans, in the largest of cities to vote for them several hundred times to participate.
The bench players were nice guys with decent numbers, even more decent than half the starters but the clergy liked them enough to put them on a pedestal. The All-Star game is a pilgrimage for the elite of the clergy but you are only elite until you are shunned for one reason or another. During the homerun derby the players laugh, relax, commiserate and soak in the moment with their families. Once the game begins, the players pretend to care, poorly. However, then the ball hits off a third-base that is in the wrong place and the arguments start flying about who was responsible and why didn't someone notice this before the game, even though everyone had? After all, the winner of the All-Star game gets home field advantage in the World Series, the second most feckless exhibition in the religion; the one that usually shuns the best and most deserving of congregations yet is ultimately responsible for deciding who should go down in history as the best and the worst.
Baseball is silent for how loud it can get. The clergy grudgingly give the media useless quotes to be consumed by abnoxiously entitled fans and everyone remains silent and secure in their clichéd existence. Take me out to the ball game, I played my butt off out there but the ball didn't bounce our way, I bought peanuts, beer and hotdogs, I have nothing but respect for the veteran whose position I stole, I had fun at the game, I gave it my best, the tickets are too expensive, they aren't paying us enough.
Everything negates everything else and everyone gets a fair chance to cheat to create an advantage but no one in baseball will ever accuse one of their own of cheating until they are retired because they don't want to be excommunicated. The War on Drugs bleeds over into the game and in a hypocritical fashion, doing steroids or HGH isn't cheating until they say it is cheating. Can you just think about the children, the children who will be adults and who will take performance enhancing drugs because Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds did? Think about the future children who will be adults. No one can argue with that but mostly the Pope doesn't want his church embarrassed by that meddling Congress. "How dare they impose their laws upon our tax exempt and monopolistic union of sorts! I'll show them, I'll ban substance abuse and spend millions on drug awareness just to keep them from poking around and finding other injustices. We can still teach greed and emotionless business decisions to the youth if they are taking away our drugs. Maybe we should move the MLB to moon where the Congress has no jurisdiction but we would have to change the field dimensions and the ghosts of baseball past would frown upon that!" The government leaves good enough as is until the future adults of America become a political talking point. That is when the silence is lifted and perfect heroes are exposed as dumb jocks who could care less about anyone but themselves and how future adults feel about their past careers.
Everyone who follows or is involved in baseball is entitled to their opinions about the game. Bill James nailed his 95 theses to home plate and somehow created a splinter organization that is based in statistical fact but of course the very Popes that provided and are most proud of the statistical nature of the game take decades to decide to possibly consider its validity because it dishonors the bible that their forefathers had given them to operate in the correct fashion. How dare anyone take sacred statistics and construe them into a new types of statistics that do a far superior job evaluating the worth of players!? What would Pants Rowland think, goddamnit? In baseball the sun the still revolves around the Earth and Galelio's house arrest is still justified. Decide who plays and starts on the All-Star teams upon wOBA you sons-of-bitches, its not like anyone makes the All-Star game based on defense. We live in an offensive society, in both literal senses of the word. Lets immortalize the ICBMs, not the peashooters and paper airplanes.
I contemplated all this after listening to Aaron Rowand provide his expertise in hitting and fielding to a radio audience who didn't deserve it. I contemplated all this after seeing Brent Lillibridge go 0-4 with 2 K's for the Boston Red Sox while Rowand sat next to babbling and idiotic, Ed Farmer. Rowand priced himself out of the game he loves. He would play for less but teams don't want to disrespect a veteran with no marginal upside, even one with two World Series rings, who would be far more useful than Lillibridge who has the appearance of a possible upside based on his age. He must be fast if he is little and the youth like little people who try hard because that myth still exists when you are young.
I listened to the radio only because I did not want to listen to Hawk Harrelson but the Pope blacked the White Sox game out of my MLB.TV region, the one that I paid a $129 offering to obtain. I chose to make that payment because of my fervor for the annual resurrection of my religion. The status quo crumbles when people are given choices, so choices there are not. I certainly could have watched the Cubs or the Orioles instead but I don't have a choice to not watch the White Sox. I am a member of their congregation and I have to sit through sermon after sermon about things I don't believe or care about. The fervor of the early season has been replaced with daily handwringing over things I have no control over.
Of all the things that could stop and give pause to the church of baseball it is little things like a backwards batting box or the fictional wrongly dimensioned infield, depicted above, that cause the most concern. These are internal issues that can be rectified because there is but one way to play the game and it must be played under the constraints of the rules. The choices the Pope and his minions make off the field where the rules are open to interpretation and are not as sacred. are the ones I have the most problem with. Baseball is sacred until the Pope figures out a way to make more money off of change (a dollar out of fifty cents?). Is it blasphemous to move the Houston Astros out of the National League? It would have been ten years ago but today a series of arguments and justifications have trickled down to the congregation to explain why it is best for baseball and they are blindly accepted because they have been talked about for over 700 days. Is it blasphemous to have a feckless exhibition decide who obtains home field advantage for the World Series? No not anymore, especially when the FANS are used as the reason for who starts the game. The manager who takes along his whole team and the players who vote in good guys are always right in their choices and it is drilled into bedrock. The fans, players and managers can never be wrong, until the Pope decides that they are and makes changes based on the bottom-line.
If baseball wasn't based on tradition, random occurrences, spectacle and fleeting beauty, I would struggle to get out of bed to make it in time to worship. Isn't it enough to just have faith and believe, without feeling pressured to attend church services, have hypocrisy thrown in your face and celebrated and have factual based opinions looked down upon as fan geekery? Guess not but I'll keep going because I don't want the wrath of God to strike me down in my tracks and I don't want to miss out on that particular function of society.
Punch AJ! Lets make them take Jake!