Poor Charlie Brown. You can’t say Lucy didn’t follow instructions. This is definitely a good lesson in elaboration and clarity.
I never thought of comparing baseball and ballet, but Terry Cashman makes the metaphor work with this song. The tune is even a bit sing-songy to make it seem more like a dance.
This piece is a few years old, but I came across it this morning, and I would say the timing is still appropriate. The weather might still be iffy in spots, but only five days remain until spring officially arrives!
is now underway
oh what fun it is
watching baseball played
the grapefruit league
the cactus league
who’ll make team
and who won’t
get in shape
In case you need a chuckle on this fine morning, here are a couple baseball jokes I came across to get you going! The second one strikes me as an actual, real-life story, which makes it all the more amusing.
A man is trapped in a house without windows, doors, or any other way of exiting. The house is on fire and has started to collapse, and the man has only a baseball and a bat. How does he get out? He swings at the air three times because in baseball it is one, two, three strikes and you’re out at the ol’ ball game!
On a spring break trip to Italy, my friends and I were standing just inside St. Peter’s Basilica, the second largest church in the world.
The tour guide explained, “This church is so large that no man on earth could hit a baseball from one end to the other, not Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, or even Mark McGwire.”
My group stared in silence at the beautiful marble sculptures, intricate paintings, and glorious mosaics all around the enormous building.
Then one girl interrupted the silence with an astonished question: “You mean, they actually let them hit baseballs in here?”
This is a short little tune, but it has a nice feel-good vibe to it. It’s part nostalgia and part present-day joy, all packed into less than two minutes of music.
This piece, written by an anonymous author, was first published in the Chicago Record in 1896. I find the poem a touch humorous in that it indicates that for all the incredible accomplishments these great men of history achieved, they missed out big time because they didn’t have the opportunity to experience baseball.
George Washington was President
and honored in his day,
He was the father of the land and
all things came his way;
He had a basketful of fun, a wagon
load of fame—
But he never was a rooter at a base
Napoleon conquered half the world
and had a crown of gold,
And in his time his cup was just
as full as it could hold.
It looks from here as though he
should have had his share of fun-
But her never strained his vocals
when the home team won.
And also Julius Cesar, who had his
share of sport,
He won his share of battles, and
always held the fort.
He killed lost of people, regard
less of the cost—
But he never booed the umpire
when the home team lost.
And also Alexander, he turned most
And then shed tears because there
were no more worlds to lick,
He climbed ‘way up the ladder, as
high as people get—
But he never pawned his scepter to
pay a baseball bet.
I rarely get to mention this here, because so little of the show ever touches on baseball, but I have been a huge South Park fan for many, many years. The show tends to direct its satire more towards politics and popular culture, rather than sports, but the makers did include one episode in its ninth season that revolves around Little League baseball.
Many of the boys from South Park play on the town’s Little League team, and “The Losing Edge” opens in the last moments of the final game of the regular season. The parents of both teams sit in the stands, cheering their kids on. The South Park boys, meanwhile, are spread out of the field in their defensive positions, moaning about how much they despise baseball. Token yawns miserably at first base and Butters is singing in the outfield to a ladybug, completely oblivious to what is going on with the game. Meanwhile, in the stands, Stan’s father Randy Marsh is drunk and picking a fight with a dad from the other team, which causes Stan to squeeze his eyes in embarrassment, even though it seems evident this isn’t the first time this has happened.
The boys win the game and begin to celebrate that their season is finally over so that, “We can start having fun again!” Their enthusiasm is quickly shot down, however, when they learn that because they finished with the best record in the division, they are now going into the postseason. Discussing their bad luck over celebratory pizza, Stan points out that the finals are sudden death elimination, and the boys agree to deliberately lose a game while making it look like they are trying to win.
What the boys did not count on, however, is that every other Little League team in the area also hates the game and wants to lose as much as they do. Each game, therefore, becomes a competition not to win, but to play worse than the other guy. The South Park boys, it turns out, are too good at baseball, and keep advancing through the finals.
Randy Marsh, meanwhile, apparently takes his Little League dad brawls seriously. Every game sees Randy stripping off his shirt at some point as he hollers at another dad, ending with him bloody, bruised, and getting led by an officer to a police cruiser. As he’s handcuffed and getting dragged away, Randy yells at the police, “This is America!” Because apparently, in Randy’s mind, American freedom includes the right to fight whomever he wishes.
No matter how much they try, the South Park boys cannot manage to lose a game, and suddenly they find themselves qualifying for the Colorado state championship, to be played at Coors Field. To make matters worse, they learn that if they win this game, their entire season starts over on the national circuit. When the South Park team meets their opponents, a team from Denver, Randy also gets to meet the Denver team’s dad brawler, a large and imposing man in a bat costume known as “Bat Dad.”
Randy is so intimidated by the Bat Dad, he resolves not to attend the championship game at all. The championship game gets underway, and the South Park boys are aghast to discover that the Denver team have become experts at sucking. (As a side note, every time I watch this episode, I cannot help but wonder: if the Denver team truly excelled at sucking, wouldn’t they have been eliminated long ago?) Just as it is beginning to look like South Park is going to lose their entire summer to baseball, Randy Marsh shows up with a beverage tray full of beers, calling out, “Denver sucks!” Before long, he and the Bat Dad are in each other’s faces.
I love the social commentary this episode provides. Obviously, the plot around Randy and his brawls is a hilarious poke at all the Little League parents who take the competition a little too seriously at that level, as well as parents who just can’t seem to be civil in public and make it all about themselves. As for the boys, I love the comedy created by turning the goal of the game on its head. The teams involved engage in reverse trash talking, telling each other things like, “We’re going down! We’re gonna get creamed!” Their attitudes reflect the ridiculousness of how we sometimes force our kids to do things that they hate just because it’s the socially accepted thing to do. Rather than squeezing kids into a box of having to play a particular sport or instrument or do some other activity just because we think they should, parents would do well to listen to their kids and take a moment to consider what they want.