A Beginner’s Guide to Baseball

Now I realize that many of you are not fans of Baseball and it dawned on me that maybe you just don’t recognize the purity and simplicity of the game.  So here is a primer to get you up to speed.  I hope you enjoy it and learn a little more about our National Pastime.
 

From the ‘mound’ (a small hill) to the ‘bullpen’ (far, far away), the game is a simple one. But don’t forget the food.

 
 
Sadly, many folks still don’t understand the game of baseball well enough to appreciate our local teams’ fairy-tale seasons. So here’s the deal on this beautiful and occasionally arcane sport — a beginner’s guide to baseball:

Baseball is a simple game with a million rules, all subject to the interpretation of four blind but very assertive people known as "umpires." These umpires are usually assisted by 30,000 to 40,000 beery-eyed witnesses, all of whom are sure they saw the close play better — from a quarter of a mile away. They are blind too.

One of the first things you notice is that the players often wear white, representing purity and innocence of spirit. This is one of many baseball traditions. White also shows the dirt best. To stay loose, the players scratch themselves a lot, but only when the TV camera is on them. No one knows why.

A game begins with a group song, then a man goes to a little hill. His purpose is to throw the ball past an opposing player, from his little hill, sometimes called a "mound," to the catcher, who takes a position behind home plate. So yes, technically, they are throwing the ball out of bounds with every single pitch.

When a "batter" misses the ball three times, he is considered "out," and it is baseball tradition for him to bark something rude to the vision-impaired (blind) person behind home plate. But not too rude. If you bark something too rude, you are asked to please leave, thank you very much. As you can tell already, baseball is a very passive-aggressive experience.

Now, if a batted ball lands on or within the chalk lines, the batter runs counterclockwise in sequence to the four bases. Why you would want to run in a big circle, basically getting nowhere, is one of the glories of the game and is considered a template for life itself. First, second and third base are also popular euphemisms for sexual conquest, assuming you have such things in your life.

As with romance, there are many ways to be called out in baseball. You can strike out, as mentioned earlier, or you can get tagged out. Various scenarios involve tagging second, third or home, providing that it’s a "force play" situation. In double plays, the shortstop doesn’t even need to have the ball when he swipes second base. He just needs to pretend.

Are you with me so far? Good.

When a team records three outs, all the fans get up and go to the snack bar for ridiculously overpriced food. In another baseball tradition, items that are supposed to be hot are cold (hot dogs), and items that are supposed to be cold are hot (beer).

Fans will also use this time to stand in line at the restroom (which is free but probably not for long).

By the time the fans return, it is often about the fifth inning. There is usually much circling of the bases by the batters about this time, which makes everyone happy, except the manager and the pitching coach, who are all the time going out to the mound to consult with the pitcher and to make sure he is not drunk or something.

If the manager is unhappy, or the pitcher is drunk, the manager will motion for another pitcher to come in, someone who is worse than the one before.

At that point, another new player trots in, usually from the farthest point possible from the pitching mound itself. They call this distant area "the bullpen." The journey is basically like going from the Continental terminal for a connecting flight to the American terminal — except it takes longer.

Even after the new pitcher finally arrives, the game cannot resume yet, for although he has been warming up, this new pitcher needs to warm up some more.

No one knows why.

After a long delay, the game begins again, and this new pitcher will often face only one or two batters before the manager will "yank" him for another pitcher, because the next batter is right-handed, and he doesn’t want his lefty to face a righty because batters see the ball better when it is thrown by someone of the opposite persuasion.

Still with me? Amazing.

In almost every game, there will be a big flare-up, a batter will be hit by a pitch or maybe a "balk" will be called. No one completely understands balks, except for three old-timers and they are all living in an assisted-care facility in Palm Springs. So whenever a balk is called, there is much discussion.

Discussions such as this are frequent in baseball, and occasionally venomous. Anger is essential to the game of baseball and provides much of the visual entertainment. Anger is almost as important as eating, which provides the main action.

Honestly, if you took away the food, no one would go to a baseball game at all.

 
 
Well, I sure hope that helped you better underdstand the wonderful game known as Baseball.
 
I’ll be here all week and don’t forget to tip the waiters!  Ba-Da-Bing!!
 
 
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Beginner’s Guide to Baseball

  1. Sue says:

    Yep, that about sums it up!(says the loyal Toronto Blue Jays fan)

  2. Joe says:

    LOL, did you do this for me or am I just being paranoid? I totally understand baseball my friend but I appreciate the little reminder that there’s more to it than some might think. Once again you bring a smile to my face!

  3. john says:

    ya forgot Abbott and Costello’s version. Like Yogi said, "Hit it where they ain’t."

  4. Sue says:

    Very good Bob, I think you hit all the high spots! (and a few of the low ones too) Go you Tigers!

  5. Fizz says:

    Sorry, Bob… still hate baseball… I’m a Football and Hockey kinda girl…

  6. Grandma's says:

    Only time I liked baseball was when my son played as a little guy. Used to get a kick out of all the moms that would swear at the umps and act like they knew everything better.Hockey is pretty much the only thing I watch on occasion. Gearing up, though, for the 2010 Olympics as they will be held up here. Looking forward to the Ski jumping, bob-sledding and luge. Have a great weekend Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s