Monday, March 21, 2011


It’s only ten days to OPENING DAY!  Some whimsical philosopher once said that baseball is the belly button of our society.  I wonder…is that because there’s lots of time between bits of action to gaze at the waiting infielders and ponder life?  Or because it is the funniest part of the American sports anatomy?  Basketball and football are not funny…baseball is funny.  Jim Muray pointed out that at the ball park a screwball could be either a pitch or a person, stealing is legal, and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire’s eye or on the baseball.  Rick Monday said of Phil Niekro’s knuckleball that it actually giggles at you as it goes by.  Bob Uecker, who was a catcher, remember, said that the best way to catch a knuckleball was to wait until the ball stops rolling and then pick it up.  Curt Simmons (who ought to know) said that trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron was like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster!  Or…as I’ve heard Vin Scully say…a pork chop past a wolf.  Funny!  But there are two categories of funny.  There’s funny (ha ha)…and funny (peculiar).  As every fan knows, baseball, more than any other game, unfolds slowly enough that you can see disaster looming from quite a distance.  And on another note, Philip Wrigley said baseball is too much of a sport to be called a business and too much of a business to be called a sport.  I have faith that no matter how fat our American society gets, the belly button will never completely disappear.