Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baseball Is Better

"Just how much has college and NFL football contributed to war and nationalism?" asks Charles Stampul — How Football Explains America. "And can one even casually follow professional football without oneself contributing?"

Good questions, which might be best answered in light of Edward Fenner's excellent piece — Why Baseball Is A Gentleman's Game. The author offers "five very simple reasons" to "call this a gentleman's sport" and explains "how it relates to the game of life" (not war). Unconvinced? Watch this George Carlin classic:

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7 Comments:

Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Amen to this. Baseball is the quintessential American game -- not just for "gentlemen," but for any decent and law-abiding person to enjoy and to play. It emphasizes both collective endeavor and individual effort, the excellence of the individual and the cohesion of the team. Some complain that it is slow, but that's just a commentary on the current short-attention spans that plague our society.

Baseball is America. Pure and simple. And it also has a universal aspect that appeals to cultures as different as Japan and Cuba. Like America, it has both a particular and universal aspect. And like America, it lives on not just in the "major leagues" but in the minor leagues, small town leagues, little leagues, and softball leagues that are part and parcel of actual lived American life across the country.

3:09 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

So very well said. Here's to America's Pastime!

3:55 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

It's contribution to nationalism is accidental to the game.

As for war, that is why all young men should play it, or some variation thereof. It helps teach them to become men. Or let them play rugby, or lacrosse. But let the game have constant contact with bodies and use of hands. All sports every gentleman should grow up playing.

Baseball is modern warfare, not the game of gentlemen but of bureaucrats and nerds whose greatest joy is to win not by virtue of hand to hand combat, but by technical prowess of crunching numbers and throwing missiles.

The game of 'gentlemen' out on the green is croquet or tennis. Some would argue for golf, but is golf is the other side of the coin from baseball, it stands as proof of our society ceasing to be educated in preference for technical prowess, where off hours from work can only be used playing some inane game no matter how vapid because that is likewise state of their minds.

10:23 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

If a Spartan pederastic warrior society is your ideal, then yes, football is best.

Some thoughts:

1. Sorry, but this talk of "constant contact with bodies and use of hands" brings to mind Sayyid Qutb's critique of America's latent homosexualism implicit in the cult of the body and sports.

2. In my high school, baseball players chewed tobacco (and some even smoked pot) while football players took steroids, shrinking their manhood, and went on to join the marines and boast of murdering surrendering Iraqis in the Gulf War. That ain't too manly in my book.

3. In baseball, "crunching numbers" does not win games but merely offers stimulation to the intellects of fans, and it is not the throwing of missiles but the defection of them that counts.

4. Baseball is the only sport in which middle-aged pot-bellied guys, Jews, Asians and Caribbean Hispanics perform in any numbers. Football is limited to young Whites, Blacks, and Pacific Islanders.

5. That the term "gentlemen" is now held in suspicion or contempt in a country whose Founders spoke of a "natural aristocracy" is worrisome.

11:35 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

The Spartan games are the games of men, who honorable meet their opponents. Where as we moving to a society which kills with drones operated from safety of Nevada State bunkers. The first is the self defense of men, the latter that of women.

1) The "use of hands" was intended to exclude soccer. An unnatural sport because of its exclusion of hands. And there is nothing of homosexuality, or cult of flesh, of young men grinding each other into the earth, but sheer joy of the battle.

2)Those are accidental to the game.

3)No, defense does not score runs. And the game is a game of numbers.

4)Interesting, I'd never considered pot-belliedness to be a distinguishing mark of a gentleman. Or smoking pot or chewing tobacco for that matter.

5)Gentlemen are no more common than are Ladies. Both of which are distinguished by virtue of their decorum and treatment of their fellow men, and secondly by their proper ordering to the arts. And not distinguished by those who attend the Ladies room at the local brothel. Or the local baseball game.

Any natural aristocracy which actually ever existed, has long since been replaced by a ruling plutocracy and technically trained upper class whose distinguishing mark is money and ill use of leisure.

1:24 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Agreed that "a society which kills with drones operated from safety of Nevada State bunkers" is Obama-nable. How about a good old-fashioned defense war? And sports like baseball that celebrate them?

1) I applaud your condemnation of soccer!

2) True, as was your point about the accidental nature of nationalist to football.

3) But hitting runs is kind of like a Reaganesque Patriot Missile system, no? Purely defensive?

4) Pot-belliedness, smoking pot, and chewing tobacco are only virtuous in juxtoposition to physical fitness, violence, and steroids.

5) No disagreemnet there.

Agreed also that the "ruling plutocracy and technically trained upper class whose distinguishing mark is money and ill use of leisure" should be abolished, peacefully if possible.

1:41 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

btw,

I've always liked the George Carlin skit.

And the first principle of all spectator sports beyond high school is never give them a penny. Especially any pro sport.

And especially baseball which is the worst at rewarding incompetence with obscene amounts of money.

3:44 AM  

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