Oh

Director’s Cut: I almost deleted this post, then read it again and thought it was funny. Love me some me.

Watching a baseball game, you can just lie back and let the stupid wash over you like a warm sunbeam coming out of a care bear’s small intestine (little-known-but-obvious-in-retrospect fact, that stuff comes from the inside). Take the officials. They make calls like this:

Great Call

Our National Pastime!

By the way, that thing the umpire did with his arms means “the lunging guy did not touch the sliding guy with his glove prior to the sliding guy putting his hand on the white thing in the dirt.” The lumbering gentleman made this determination from approximately 3 feet away while looking directly at everything that happened. He had a better view than you do looking at this .gif. I don’t know what’s crazier: the call itself, or the fact that directly after it happened possibly literally no one in the world thought that was the correct call, including the umpire himself, and there was nothing that could be done about it. And yet the entire fabric of sports would supposedly collapse if, say, somebody asked Omar Infante (sliding guy) if he was out, and he said, “of course I was out. I almost didn’t even bother to put my hand on the bag. Here, look, the Jumbotron is playing the replay–check out the pissed-off look on my face as I peek up at the umpire, only to see he’s calling me SAFE! I also farted right then, but the Jumbotron doesn’t capture sound, and/or it was silent but deadly, a lot was going on at the time and I wasn’t really able to gauge my ass decibels” and so they actually called him out. If this happened, it would be the biggest thing in sports ever, and I have no idea why. Obviously, if it’s close, don’t call yourself out like a moron, but it’s strange how the lines of “integrity” are drawn in sports. Anyway…

Because of shit like this, soon they’ll institute instant replay for safe/out calls, fair/foul calls, and lord knows what else, and at the end of the day, they’ll still get something like 20-30% of every ball/strike call wrong, and everyone will be completely fine with it. If you asked an intelligent alien (extraterrestrial, I mean…citizens of Central America know their baseball) to watch a GameCast on ESPN.com and to decipher the relationship between the blue rectangle (strike zone), green circles (balls), and red circles (strikes), the alien will probably just get really pissed off and vaporize you and then go into a coughing fit because you were sitting too close to him when he vaporized you so he accidentally breathed in your bone-smoke, and then vaporize your dog in the yard out of spite.

Baseball is also the only sport anyone gives two shits about that has different rules for its different leagues for no good reason whatsoever (except “that’s how it’s always been,” which I don’t know is even true in this case and am too lazy to look up, in part because that’s the worst explanation ever given for anything). The American League has a random guy past his prime who plays the position I’m Too Fat to Field and just bats instead of the pitcher. The National League makes the person who plays every 5 days and could not possibly care less about hitting come up once every couple innings and strike out feebly. American League pitchers get to have worse stats because they don’t pitch to a mannequin every 9 hitters.

When teams from opposite leagues play each other, rather than use the AL’s rule exclusively, which wouldn’t seem to do a whole lot of damage to NL teams, as they can plan ahead and grab someone from the minors, rework their roster, whatever, they use the rules from the home team, so in NL parks, AL pitchers have to bat, so the NL pitchers now get to face a mannequin with dysentery. What sounds more exciting: players batting who get hits as often as a Paradise Flycatcher feeding insects to its chicks in the nest uses too large of insects so the chicks can’t swallow them (this website is great, in large part because I think all of the “Strange Things, Events and Happenings” (these are not different concepts) are supposed to be links, only they’re not, so it’s just these disembodied comments, like the one about the Paradise Flycatcher, a “comical sequence!”—this person’s use of exclamation points is also top-notch), or people who are, like, good hitters?

Up through this year, one division, the NL Central, had 6 teams, while a division in the AL, the West, had 4. After like 10 seasons, they figured out how to fix that. Can you guess what they did?

I suppose this isn’t “stupid” per se, but the players also take off all of their clothes and put them back on after each pitch. This gets boring quicker than you’d think. And the field is a completely different size everywhere, and one team plays on the moon where there is no gravity (this is an embellishment–there is some gravity on the moon), so their pitchers are always pissed off.

Oh, this one is awesome: so in baseball, the sport is so random and stupid (see above) that the best teams in the league win like 50.1% of their games. Taking a hint from other sports, then, how many teams should make the playoffs, and how many games should they play in the first round series? Good basketball teams and good hockey teams win shitloads more of their games than good baseball teams, and basketball and hockey let like half the teams into the playoffs and play a first round best-of-seven. So what does stupid creepy Uncle Baseball do? How about letting about 30% of the teams into the playoffs, and then playing a best of five, assuring not only that the teams who just miss the postseason are pretty much exactly as deserving as those who make it, but that complete randomness will determine who advances.

Shit, I forgot, baseball added one more team from each league to the playoffs this year, and then made them play the other crappiest playoff team in their league in a one-game playoff to make it to the next round. So you just finished in the top third of your entire league, and your reward is that dude from No Country with bad hair/Chin Dimple from The Dark Knight/that idiot main character from White Teeth comes in and flips a coin, only here, if you win, you don’t get to live, you get to go to the stupid five-game series and play more stupid baseball. Plus it’s like 20 degrees outside now, because that’s what the temperature is in almost-November.

Baseball’s stupidity can be summed up by the We Get Rid of All the Baseball Stadia and Equipment and Cards and Etc. and Everyone Gets Amnesia Test: if humans hadn’t invented baseball by now, would they ever invent it? HELL NO they wouldn’t. Throwing a ball through a hoop? Sure. Even hitting a ball with a stick would be bound to happen, maybe even a ball thrown by someone else. But baseball only exists because people back in 1880 or whatever were completely strange. For example, more likely to be named the “Red Legs”: a communist lingerie football franchise, or the first baseball team ever created (may not be true)? Everyone was nicknamed weird Civil War crap like “The Duke of Tralee” or bizarre alliteration like “The Nashville Narcissus.” People back then didn’t even laugh when they said boner.

That got pretty long. I guess I could have just said the Reds signed Dusty Baker to a two-year extension. Q.E.D.

Q4 2013 Edit: they fired that bastard. Zounds!