Sunday, April 10, 2005

Baseball Explained

Gentle visitors, some foreigners who frequent these pages have implored us for a simple explanation of baseball. (These folks were raised on such sports as cricket, croquet, and curling. Nothing wrong with these athletical distractions -- not at all. We have treated curling in passing; croquet -- to be sure -- in some future meditation; and, cricket -- yes -- once we get the point of it.) At the same time, we have had a request for more baseball poetry: a redundance since the game itself is poetry -- a bit like a request to gild the lily.

But, nonetheless... nonetheless, we mean to serve (a tennis term, by the way) -- thus, the following, simple, poetical explanation of a "strike".

A strike is a pitch swung at and missed

(or, one not swung on at all but so called
by that certain masked, padded, dark-vested
gentleman styled "the umpire",
who crouches behind that other masked and padded
[though jerseyed] man catching said
missed or dismissed pitch,
to the extent that, in the unappealable judgment
of said umpire, the ball breaks an imaginary and approximate
box suspended over home plate
[a pentagonal affair -- hard rubber --
where the most important events transpire],
bounded by the plate itself
and the knees and "letters" of the batter,
as determined by his relative size and contraction,
the general reputation of the pitcher, and
the eyesight of the said umpish gent
[often a matter of concern and speculation
by those witnessing the sporting exhibition,
who are all, apparently, avocational optometrists ],

or, a pitch hit into a foul territory --
that is to say, an untoward place
demarcated by a straight, chalky line,
such that there is a great abyss fixed
between what is foul and what is fair --

unless such struck ball is caught,
in which case it is an out,

unless the foul is not caught
and would otherwise be the third strike,
in which case it is a nought,

unless the batter is trying a bunt,
[a cute maneuver -- if "cute" could ever be used
with the proper gravitas for the sport--
in which the batter does not swung,
but, rather, places the bat in front of the ball
in order that said ball be nudged
{again, an inadequate term}
a few feet forward, in the fervent hope
of advancing himself or other runners
along the base-paths]
and, contrary to the batters intent,
the ball goes foul (see above)
in which case it is a strike,

unless it would otherwise be a third strike
and the catcher does not catch the ball
[a paradox that -- otherwise, why the title?]
and the batter reaches the first base
before the catcher can throw the ball
to that person assigned to cover first base
or otherwise tag him out,
in which case it is technically a strike
and, per force, a strike out
but not scored as such).

8 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

There at the plate
(Yet no dinner for him)
Standing proud the batter
('Tis not about food
Dip not your fish)
Shoulders his mighty bat
(No vampire this)
Girt with an imagined box
Holds with a steely eye
The pitcher
(Who'll hold no water though)
Readied now he waits to swing
(No playground here -
no merry-go-round)
Dreaming of famous hits
(But not strikes you see)
Behind the man
In the abyss so foul
Hang suspended the catcher
(What, dogs, rats or vermin?)
And an umpire
Like beggars at the feast
Before our hero
The diamond
(No, no fabled jewel is this)
Awaits, anticipates the run
From base to base
The gleaming prize
The homer
(And where is Bart in this?)

Poor foreigner
Searching for the wicket
Prods the patient muse
"What, is this not cricket?"

4/11/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

By Jove, I think he's got it.

4/11/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ned said...

First we get an excellent explanation of the strike as convoluted as the defintion with as many instances and exceptions. Then we are given a wonderful exposition on the colorful terms associated with the game in another poetic foray. Both hit a home run.

4/11/2005 01:18:00 PM  
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