If you’re partial to connoisseur’s baseball — the kind of ball-match in which runs are earned by grit, moxie and a toiler’s ethic — then yesterday’s Orioles contest should be to your liking:
Much as one does not merely walk into Mordor, a major-league team does not merely stride onto a diamond housing the ball-ists of Manatee Community College and expect to escape without a brawler’s bruises. If it consoles, then know that the vanquished Orioles share the yoke of the defeated with the mighty likes of Indian River State College and Polk State College and the University of Tampa junior-varsity squad and Florida State College-Jacksonville.
Indeed, not all who have dared square off against Manatee Community College have been as fortunate as Palm Beach State College and Chipola College and Seminole State College and Broward College (twice) and Florida State College-Jacksonville (thrice) and Polk State College and, well, quite a number of others, actually.
But no, not every team can be so kissed by the fates — so groped by the fates like a coquette on a Tokyo subway — as to escape the presence of Manatee Community College without a loss. Although that University of Tampa junior-varsity squad tied them at one point, it seems …
Anyhow, one might notice the gallery of tossers that the Orioles faced upon the yesterday …
Doubtless, the reader will be reminded of that solemn piece of base-and-ball doggerel, penned by Grantland Rice when he worked the MCC beat like a flatfoot on the Bowery …
Prithee, civil sir, for a gentler kind of hell?
Under sun, under thunderheads or under moon,
Your scrap nine they’ll surely dragoon!
So chins up, Orioles of Baltimore: for countless others have met such a fate!
But not Hillsborough Community College, it turns out.