Good Day Hi-Top Table Readers,
It is I, Hard Ball Times Opinion Giver. I truly hope these Winter months have afforded you the opportunity to rest and recharge after such an historic Base Ball season. But much like Odysseus himself arriving back on the shores of Ithaca, the Gods of the Dirt Diamond have returned to the sacred ground that is Spring Training.
When last I left you, the scuttlebutt surrounding our beloved pastime was the endless debate regarding “pace of play”. My esteemed opinions on this subject are known far and wide.
In short, Base Ball is not being played too slow! No it is indeed being played too fast!
When Ms. Jane Austen invented Base Ball in 1803 she drew from the illustrious history of cricket and crafted a game, née a way of life, an all absorbing, all encompassing endeavor that was meant to unfold over days not hours and minutes.
In Northanger Abby (written 1803, published 1817) Austen wrote:
“Catherine Morland watched in fascination as the gentlemen played their Sport, this Base Ball that had been so much the talk of village life. At first glance the Men appeared to be engaged in such a useless activity, meandering in circles, chasing a ball and swinging sticks. But in due time the rhythms of the game, the repeated rituals revealed themselves to Catherine and she became transfixed as the play seemed to be endless, the switching of sides lasting for days.
Both the American League of Professional Base Ball Clubs and the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs have announced new rules intended to speed up the pace of our beloved sport.
Reckless, wanton money grubbing charlatans!
How dare they presume to know what’s best. For they are not Gentlemen, they do not have the purest of intentions but rather they seek to drain, to bleed Base Ball of all its inherent charms and whimsy. For it is in the journey that we find our true self. And my friends that journey is long and hard and true or it is no journey at all.
A two hour Base Ball game. Surely you jest.
A limit placed on visits to the holy mound by the Manager is akin to a bread ration being placed on a starving home. These talks are nourishment for our hurling Aces. They must talk. These pitchers bare their souls on that 10 inches of dirt. They stand alone, a mere 60 feet and 6 inches away from their adversary. To place any restrictions on their ability to converse freely, to strategize and sympathize with their brothers in arms, well you might as well remove some of their fingers as well, though you know that never stopped old Mordecai now did it.
Base Ball may be the Gentleman’s Sport but it is as well the Deliberate Man’s Sport. Taking away that studiousness, that consideration, robs the Game of not only its soul but it’s wit as well.
Hands off good Sirs I say, née plead, Hands off!