Saturday, October 27, 2018

Baseball and Nothingness

I’ve been watching a lot of the baseball playoffs, because if I pay too much attention to the intensifying slide of the United States into full-blown Fascism it will make me crazy.  All I’m going to say right now about that slide is that if Americans look at what is going on around them and reward the party responsible for it with continued control of the government next month then the country probably deserves to burn and I have no doubt that it will.  I’m a historian.  I’ve seen this movie before.  It doesn’t end well.

Baseball is a nice break from that, really, even if the World Series is being contested by two teams I actively dislike.

It’s the most zen-like of our major sports, in that not much actually happens.  You can let your mind wander and focus on deeper things or on nothing at all without fear of missing anything important, and there is a virtue in that I suppose.  This is especially true for this post-season, where pitchers are being put in and pulled out like toddlers in a wading pool and balls that the fielders actually have to deal with are at something of a premium.  The games are slow and long – last night’s 18-inning marathon was actually longer in hours and minutes than the entire 1939 World Series combined – and they could probably just get rid of everything outside of the space between the pitcher’s mound and the catcher’s mitt without anyone ever noticing.

It gives you time to chat with whoever’s watching with you.

Lauren has gotten interested in the games, so all three of us will sometimes sit and watch.  She had never seen the Green Monster at Fenway before and the whole idea that baseball fields aren’t uniform across the league still comes as a bit of a surprise to her.  And it is a strange thing, when you think about it.  There’s a part of the wall in deep center field at Miller Park in Milwaukee where because of the way that wall bends back on itself a ball can be a home run if it’s hit a certain distance, a catchable out it it’s hit five feet further, and a home run again if it’s hit five feet further than that.

I’m not sure that’s what Abner Doubleday had in mind.

My team didn’t make the playoffs, as they are in year eight of a multi-generational rebuilding process.  I checked in on them now and then this summer, just to see where they were in the standings – they actually did pretty well and were in contention for the playoffs as late as September, which as a Phillies fan was a pleasant surprise.  I’m not much of a baseball person in general anymore, but I do cheer for the Phillies whenever they bob up to the surface of my mind.

Here in Wisconsin, the Brewers finally achieved relevance by making it to the NL Championship Series.  The Brewers are the third team in a two-team state – once you get past the Packers and the Badgers the drop-off in interest and attention paid to sports by Wisconsinites gets dizzyingly steep (and don’t even get started on the Bucks, which I am told is an actual professional sports franchise here in the state).  We watched them play their post-season games for as long as they were alive, and it was fun.  They’re an interesting team to watch.

But mostly I watch it because it isn’t the news.  Because in the end it doesn’t actually matter who wins or loses, or even how they play the game – the sun will rise on the morrow regardless, and the republic will soldier on unchanged by the results.

And that in itself is a valuable thing, in these parlous times.


LucyInDisguise said...

The only other sport(?) that can be watched with your mind in neutral is golf.

Maybe bowling. And badminton.*

There is a value to mindlessness. An opportunity for solace.

Peace and Harmony and fulfillment be with ye.


On the other front, My daughter, granddaughter, wife and I appeared at the appointed time and place to cast our votes in the first few minutes of the first hour on the first day early voting in our little corner of the Universe. My civic responsibility having been duly discharged, I now seek a quiet, dark and, hopefully, comfortable place in which to sob silently and tremble in abject terror awaiting the results to be published on November 7th.

Because ...

478 residents of our county cast their ballots that day. Disappointing. However, one in four residents of our county had a valid excuse for not voting: they were hangin' with derTamponFuror at the airport.** (Actually, that makes two excuses: the other being that they are certifiably insane.)

6,028 people*** without a single brain between them.

Brings a whole other definition to the word "mindlessness".

The Walking Dead would provide a serious improvement in entertainment value.

"Odin have mercy on all those who have turned their backs on Him.****


* Actually, the more I think about it, nearly all televisable sports. Curling is more exciting than baseball; actual knowledge of physics is required.

** The other 18,000 residents have no fucking excuse what-so-ever!

***According to those hapless souls charged with the responsibility of standing there and counting them.

**** 'Cause Thor - He got a big fucking hammer and it's entirely possible that he'll remember how to use it.

David said...

Curling is televisable! It's usually on Friday nights around here, and yes - I have in fact made the deliberate choice to watch it rather than any of the four major sports that dominate the airwaves these days.

Peace to you as well. We need it more now than ever.

I haven't yet decided whether to vote early or just go to the polls on the day, but one way or another I will obtain my License To Gripe About The Government because I always do.

I'm sure der Sturmtrumper tweetstormed about the 50,000 people who were there at the airport with him. He was glad for every one of those 75,000 people, and was astonished that your airport could hold 125,000 fans!

Yeah, the upcoming election fills me with dread. We have reached a point where we have a political party whose entire platform consists of child abuse, misogyny, war crimes, and sucking up to the wealthy in the hopes of a few crumbs falling their way, and this party remains disturbingly popular. Gonna be a long November 7th, I suspect.


Thor: Because Sometimes You Just Need a Bigger Hammer

LucyInDisguise said...

Curling is actually what r's make what little remains of my hair do. Do. Doodoo.

Vote early, avoid the rush.

Damn. Didn't think there were 2.5 million people in the whole county ...

Thor: "Sometimes there just isn't a big enough hammer in the Cosmos."


David said...

There is a part of me that likes the rush at the polling place. It reminds me that there are people who give a damn about the country. I don't get that same feeling voting early - that's too solo for me that way.

I've done both, and I heartily support people who vote however they want. But I'm leaning toward poll day, myself.

I wish we could insert images into these comments. There was a campaign-style jpg back in 2016 that said something like "Big Giant Meteor in 2016!" We thought it was satire back then...