Take me out to the ball game!

In today’s tutorial, we will cover everything I know about baseball (and softball) based on my personal observations. These personal observations are the direct result of watching tedious HOURS of the sport(s) interspersed by watching ADDITIONAL tedious hours of the sport(s).

But the one thing I DO love about baseball/softball? Is the simplicity of the terms used. Anyone can figure them out! [Side note: Plate and base are used interchangeably to describe a weirdly shaped, constantly dusty thing where a lot of action happens. The originating plate or base which births of all the action is called “Home.” Carry on.]

The person who’s throwing the ball over home plate? Pitch.

The person catching the ball that’s being thrown over home plate? Catch.

The person standing behind home plate who happens to be wearing a blue shirt over top of a flak jacket and who’s being all judge-y about what Pitch is doing? Blue.

There’s even a person who sits on the sidelines and does math problems in a spiral-bound book. The book has pictures of a baseball diamond in it, and prescribed lines. There’s a lot of intent, heads-down writing this person does in the book which makes the role seem like the worst role in the world.  Like, why would you make baseball even more unbearable by doing math problems during it?! Nonetheless, there’s always at least one person on each side who’s doing the math problems in the book. Imagine that! These people we call ‘Book.’

See? It’s not complicated at all. And I can even use terms like ‘Blue’ and ‘Book’ in a sentence:

  • When the Coach isn’t sure what day it is, he’ll say to the judge-y fella: “Blue, what’s the count?” Whereupon Blue will hold both his left and right hands up by his ears and flash some complicated gang signs.
  • When Blue needs a refresher course on math, he’ll sometimes say, “Book, whatcha got?” And Book will yell out the answers to his math problems, or a coupla numbers at least.  Then all within hearing nod sagely.  Afterwards one Book takes a field trip to visit the other team’s Book so they can congratulate each other on doing good math.

Perhaps this is why I don’t like baseball/softball that much: there seems to be a lot of counting and math involved.

The other thing I know about the sport(s) I’ve gotten from the one movie I’ve seen about baseball, “Bull Durham.” Coincidentally, the way Ebby Nuke LaLoosh pitches in that movie is exactly the way Sonny pitches. (Minus the sexpot redhead, ya creep. Gaah. Why do you always have to be creepy about stuff?) Sonny will blaze three strikes down the line to get the first batter out asap. Then he’ll send a pitch sailing 5 feet over Blue’s head before thumping the next two batters on the back with a ball. Eventually he gets sent, crying at having hurt others, to the outfield. (And YES! Now would be a perfect time to mention that Josie’s on a vacation far away! Come around and talk it over. So many things that I want to say…)

And that? Was a slight twist on the “80’s song for every moment in life” game we play. Those were lyrics from a song called “Your Love” released in 1985 on the debut studio album Play Deep by a group called…what else…THE OUTFIELD. Boo-yah! Variations on a theme.

Also? Everyone knows there’s no crying in baseball! So I lied. In addition to all the hours of real life baseball/softball I’ve watched, there are actually THREE movies I gotten my knowledge-of-the-sport(s) from: “Bull Durham,” which I’ve just mentioned; “A League of Their Own,” thus the ‘no crying in baseball’ quote; and “Stealing Home.” Full disclosure on that last movie: I only watched it because it had Mark Harmon in it. I thought it was about a guy who had a falling out with his family but ended up coming back to make amends by slipping in the back door of his childhood house – in effect, stealing home. I had NO IDEA it was about baseball until years later when my college baseball playing boyfriend (now husband – Hi, Hubby! Isn’t my witty, insightful blog on baseball FUN?!) explained how a person at third base can actually run home when it’s not really his turn and while everyone is looking the other way and in effect “steal” home plate, base for a score, point, whatever.

Ok, enough of all the baseball talk. The thing I find most perplexing about all of this is that a country that coined such simple and innocent terms for its national pastime also came up with phrases like ‘Eminent Domain’ and ‘Manifest Destiny.’

So, there you have it: Everything I know about baseball (and softball)…and also everything I know about America’s land expansion in the mid-1800’s.

You’re welcome.

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