The Physical Obstacles for Men in Baseball

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Yesterday our own Bradley Woodrum posted an article at The Hardball Times titled “The Physical Obstacle for Women in Baseball.” If you haven’t read it, you should, if only because I get $5 for each referral, plus a Woodrum Tote Bag for every 10. But here’s the larger point: I hereby submit that Woodrum’s piece is totally sexist! Why? Because it completely ignores the physical obstacles we men have faced in our pursuit of baseball greatness.

What follows is a partial list:

Adam: You know what the gospel says, right? – that he visited the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? But what the apocrypha says that he also visited the Tree of Knowledge of the Strike Zone. (One Old Testament observer put it this way: “He really knoweth the strike zone.”) That knowledge was put to the test one day when Eve, though tiring, continued to fire the ol’ apple just off the edge of the plate. Pitch after pitch, Adam refused to swing. He’d heard the adage – that you can’t walk your way out of Eden – but still he wouldn’t take the bat off his shoulder. Eventually his hit tool atrophied, and he was ashamed. Later, his plan to become a defensive specialist ended when he took a one-hopper to the fig leaf.

Plato: Smart guy, right? – mathematician, philosopher, inventor of a modeling compound used by children for art projects. But he sure wasn’t smart enough to overcome his Theory of Forms, by which he posited that the material world is not reality but only an image of reality, and which caused him to stand nonchalantly while taking a career-ending fastball to the ribs.

Marcus Aurelius, i.e., Marcvs Avrelivs: Another smart guy, right? – Stoic philosopher, Roman emperor, probably an ancestor of future college grad Rich Aurilia, i.e., Rich Avrilia. But he sure wasn’t smart enough to avoid being born in 121 B.C., a time when the Romans tried to reinvent everything – the wheel, the aqueduct, even “yourself,” the latter with positive Roman thinking and fresh Roman fruits – and when Abner Dovbleday was still hitting spherical sticks with cylindrical rocks and making puns about the “Roman Vmpire.”

Giordano Bruno: As much as anyone in the Dark Ages, the astronomer understood the movement of spheres – spheres such as planets, and stars, and probably desk globes, but also baseballs. An early proponent of both heliocentrism and pitch recognition, Bruno ran afoul of the Church when he proposed that a split-finger fastball actually has a downward rotation, this in contrast to the established doctrine that the air rotates around the ball. For his heresy he was burned at the stake, which caused him to miss a bunt sign.

Shakespeare: Have you ever tried to turn a double play while writing Othello? Me neither. But I have tried to go 4-6-3 while reminding myself to shoplift the Cliffs Notes. And I can tell you this: It is really quite difficult.

Napoleon: In efforts to prevent sign stealing, the French catcher developed the hand-in-waistcoat technique for which he later became famous. At first effective, the technique eventually caused his battery mates to throw only fastballs, seeing as how they couldn’t actually see the damn signs. Perhaps equally devastating, the Emperor also had difficulty throwing out base stealers.

Piet Mondrian: A pioneer of heat maps (pitcher’s viewpoint), the right-handed artist eventually grew too fond of middle-in fastballs. Like the future Alfonso Soriano, Mondrian would soon become susceptible to the low and outside slider.

Mondrian_Composition_II_in_Red,_Blue,_and_Yellow

Albert Einstein: Famed for both his haircut and his theory of general relativity, the scientist remained steadfast in a hitting approach that emphasized the fundamental curvature of spacetime. And thus did he swing, time after time, eight inches beneath the four-seamer.

John Paschal: Once a top prospect, Paschal got arrested for shoplifting.

He also got kicked by a mule.




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John, who has also written under the pseudonym "Azure Texan," writes for both The Hardball Times and NotGraphs.


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The Ghost of Van Gogh (or, Van Ghoghst)
Guest
The Ghost of Van Gogh (or, Van Ghoghst)

You cite Mondrian, but what about me? Whenever I played left field after Dec. 23, 1888, I couldn’t hear the center fielder call for the ball!

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.

Oh, come on. The idea that Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for his research on the split-finger is a myth! No, his doom was brought about by his infamous declaration “Verily, verily, I say until thee that this man Jesus doth please me much, but for the ball that curves he avails none.” Instead he put his faith on the ibis-headed god Thoth, who as we all know couldn’t hit a heater worth a damn after that run in with Dave Winfield. Needless to say, teams in the Renaissance had more brutal yet more effective ways to handle albatross contracts….

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.

For the record, the Piet Mondrian is pure genius.

RonnyRocket
Guest
RonnyRocket

I am disappointed Marcel Proust wasn’t included.

Shane Tourtellotte
Member

John always was middle-of-the-pack in Summarizing Proust competitions. Gotta know when to lay off a pitch.

Vmpire Weekend
Guest
Vmpire Weekend

Does Mondrian’s yellow zone extend a foot off the plate inside like Miggy’s does?

Suzanne Doubleswitch
Guest
Suzanne Doubleswitch

Hardy Har Har. I’m glad that you think it’s so funny how sexist baseball is. There are 100 women out there right now who could easily be the 25th man on a lot of teams. Unfortunately, many men out there aren’t ready to except the fact that a vagina owner can do sports better than them.

A shame, really.

Doesn't Make Sense Until You Think About It, And Then It Really Doesn't Make Sense
Guest
Doesn't Make Sense Until You Think About It, And Then It Really Doesn't Make Sense

Donald Sterling is a vagina owner.

I don't care what anyone
Guest
I don't care what anyone

* collector

Suzanne Doubleswitch
Guest
Suzanne Doubleswitch

If you realize a day and a half later that you screwed up your joke, it’s better to just let it go and chalk it up to the “L” column.

David
Guest
David

Im drowning in sarcasm, all I know now is that we should pivot the conversation to owning vaginas… Pros, Cons, Efficient techniques…

Suzanne Doubleswitch
Guest
Suzanne Doubleswitch

Pros: ??????

Cons: ??????

Efficient Techniques: ??????

I don't care what anyone
Guest
I don't care what anyone

Please don’t let this turn into a monologue.

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