Deep Thoughts: How Baseball Compares to the World

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On occasion a ‘deep thought’ enters my brain.  These
thoughts, however, are not unlike the ‘Deep Thoughts’ by Jack Handy skit,
that were famously parodied in the early 90’s on Saturday Night Live.   This doesn’t really make them ‘deep
thoughts’ – just silly ones.

Now that off-season blogging has begun, I feel that I can now delve into a
little more creative writing – the initial goal of this blog.  All the off-season
speculation can get a little over done.  For instance, when you have blog
writers like me posting about topics that he nowhere near qualified to post
about.  I will just sum up my opinions on the Jay’s 2010 off-season in
some brief bullet points:

Alex Gonzolez makes the team better defensively at SS.  I
question Scutaro’s ability to play that position in the future.

– I think the Jays will get a hefty sum for Roy Halladay this off-season,
not unlike the offers we were presented at the deadline last year.

– Working Adam Lind in at first base is a very good idea.  Snider
in the outfield might become an issue.  I’m okay with Randy Ruiz
starting at DH this year, but don’t expect ‘the world’ from him.  Would be
a ‘great story’ if he excelled though after spending the majority of his career
in the minors! 

– We need a catcher!  Barajas likely won’t be back.  I hear talk of Yorvit
Torrealba
?  Almost not significant enough a move to talk about.

– Improved scouting and player development under GM Alex Anthopolous
Very good!  Thumbs up to him.  Hopefully, we will be able to freakin
SIGN some of his picks!!! 

How Baseball Compares to World History

Finding loose, comical
parallels in comparing the history of baseball to significant moments in World
History. 

 

Ancient History 

 

The ancient history
of baseball evolves out of a game played in
England called ‘Rounders.’  Rounders was game that took it’s form from
games such as Cricket and Polo.  In fact,
throughout the early history of baseball the game was constantly evolving and
improving to suit time.  This evolution
has not stopped, as today we see the implementation of instant replay, and
dampened baseballs in
Colorado for instance.  The evolution of
baseball compares to the natural process that is Charles Darwin’s ‘natural
selection’ theory.  We adapt, and improve
to conquer our surroundings.  From
bacteria, to
Australopithecus afarensis, to **** Erectus, to Neanderthal and so on. 
Baseball’s origins came from oddly unfamiliar relatives, just as
humans.  The early years of baseball saw
many different forms and improvements in the equipment, the uniforms, the rules
and the organizational structure. 
Baseball went from unorganized groups where games were played in
backyards with loose rules and little knowledge of what they were actually
participating in, to an international game played in billion dollar stadiums
employing millions of people.  Human kind
came from a group bipedal apes sitting around trying to find a way to keep
warm, crack nuts and keep nourished, to nations, cities, politics, commerce,
the internet, Shamwows and the Snuggies. 
             
       

 

Civilization and Religion

 

June 19, 1846
– Baseball became most similar to the way it is played today.  The innovations made on the Elysian Fields in
Hoboken, New Jersey
would set baseball on a path towards the great game that it is today.    There Henry Chadwick went on to become the
game’s preeminent reporter developing baseball’s statistics and scoring system.
He

elysian-fields-baseball-game.jpg

became known as “The Father of Baseball.”  I don’t want to compare Henry Chadwick, to
you know who, but the religion of baseball, still practiced today, lies in the
constant statistical work and reporting of the game. Whether you deny it or
not, this area is the Mecca of
baseball.  The New England, New York area
is/was home to Cooperstown, the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, Babe Ruth’s
playing career and Elysian Fields, where many scholars agree is the ‘true’
birthplace of baseball, even though this is a debatable suggestion.  This area has influenced far stretches of the
baseball world, similar to the ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ except
this empire remains in baseball even to this day.  Some compare the United
States to an extension of the Roman
Empire, so I will use that logic for the sake of comparison.  The Roman Empire fell
in a way that compares to the way baseball’s great franchises in New
York lost themselves to expansion.  The Dodgers moved to L.A.
and the Giants moved to San Fran causing a collapse in the mecca of the New
York baseball during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s.  The destruction of Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn
symbolizes this fall, only to gain strength later in a different form, Pax
Americana.  The in-between time saw
baseball prophets, icons, political leaders, heroines, kings, queens, martyrs
and cultural representations emerge. 

 

Branch Rickey …
Abraham Lincoln (freed baseball … freed
America)

 

Ty Cobb … Ivan the
Terrible

 

John McGraw (little
Napolean) … Napolean (both were truly great strategists)

 

Jackie Robinson …
Nelson Mandela

 

Dottie Hinson (A
League of Their Own character loosely based on Dottie Green of the Rockford
Peaches 1943 to 1947) … Cleopatra

 

Yogi Berra … Winston
Churchill

 

Pete Rose … Harry
Truman (great president … one big mistake. 
Great player … one big mistake)

 

Barry Bonds …
Machiavelli (use whatever means as long as you get the end result:  Steroids)

             

Rafeal Palmerio …
Richard Nixon (just despicable)  

That is all I got right now! 
Anymore?

 

Reform

 

Free agency, no-trade clauses, agents and big money have
made the game what it is today.  These implementations
have also expanded the game further than any thought it would have
internationally.  The gospel of baseball
took a dramatic turn with the advent of these measures.  The Protestant Reformation conducted by
Martin Luther in 1517, coinciding with the creation of the printing press allowed
for religion to be spread and interpreted all over the world on levels that it
had never seen before.  Baseball as an
institution could now be influenced by the players that play the game.  This is similar to the Protestant
Reformation, where people began to influence religion more than they had been
able to before in the era of the ‘Holy Roman Empire.’

 

Today

 

Baseball, along with life on this planet is moving now in
rapid speed.  The internet has created a
world where baseball can be covered, analyzed, broken down into a mirco-science
like never before.  Improvements to
scouting, statistics (with sabermetrics), reporting and promotion have
propelled baseball into the technological age. 
Teams know now to jump on the next best thing coming out of Cuba,
Venezuela, or Timbuktu
that throw 100 MPH.  We live in a smaller
world, and globalization has taken hold of baseball as well.  The World Baseball Classic is in its infancy,
but baseball is also expanding into unimaginable countries now.  Yet, the peace on a baseball field remains
untarnished despite the new world order. 
That is the beauty of it all.    

 

What is next?

 

I envision a game where humans
take on robots that can statically
compute information before every pitch. 
No, no really. 

 

Better yet, baseball games used to decide conflict, or
war?  If only we could get the Taliban to
agree to that??  It would be a whole lot
more fun than the alternative, I’m sure most would agree.          

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21 comments

  1. Erin Kathleen

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone compare free agency with the Reformation before. Good stuff. As for Halladay, I’m not sure how much leverage the Jays’ front office has in dealing him. Other teams know he’s going to be a free agent after next year and might prefer to wait. Few teams can afford to sign him to an extension, and he can veto any trade to a team that can’t afford him. I only mention this because the Twins faced a similar situation in dealing Santana, and ended up having to accept a lesser package from the Mets when the Yankees and Red Sox decided they would rather wait until he entered free agency. Doc should fetch half the farm in prospects, and if the Jays don’t get it, they should probably just hang onto him and take the draft picks.
    -Erin
    http://plunking-gomez.blogspot.com

  2. welikeroywelikeroy

    Thanks Erin,

    Ya, I can’t believe I did than too. I’m being serious, just having fun.

    It is a tough situation now with Halladay. He has given the Jays an offseason deadline to trade him because he doesn’t want to miss out on Spring Training with another team. The no-trade clause is big because it really narrows our chances of getting a deal done. Many people think it is now a race between the Yankees and Red Sox for the trade!!

    Now I hear the Red Sox are backing away from a deal that includes Clay Bucholtz and Casey Kelly???? Nice prospects yes, but do they know who they are dealing with here? It’s Roy Halladay! Have they not seen him every year come out and dominate them? Do they want to beat the Yankees next year?

    If I were them I’d step up with a big offer or prospects, take it and run! I don’t know why other teams are not willing to do the same? The man is an Ace, and a difference maker. Look what solidifing Sabathia in New York did for that staff last year?

    Too much talk! Not enough action. Just like last year, if they don’t step it up they are missing the boat … Let me tell ya!

  3. Jonah

    Gonzo’s defence may be better than Scutaro’s, but I’m going to miss that .379 OBP. Scutaro was one of the reasons Lind and Hill each drove in 100 RBI this past season, as the former’s leadoff abilites to get on base set the table for the 3-4 hitters in the lineup. I’m not sure Gonzo will do that trick, and who will hit leadoff in 2010 for the Blue Jays?

    Jonah
    http://jonah77.mlblogs.com

  4. welikeroywelikeroy

    Jonah thanks for stopping by!,

    The runs and the .OBP was amazing for Scutaro last year. He has always had a high .OBP, but not like last season. He really hasn’t done anything like that another time in his career. I fear that last season was just a ‘career year’ for Scutaro, and I’m skeptical that he will be able to follow that up. 2 years 12.5 million is a little less than I thought for him, but the Jays are still saving money with Gonzo at short. Maybe we could have got Scutaro back for that kind of money?

    We did get the #29th pick overall, and a suppelmental round pick out of it! I’m extatic about that! Antho is revamping scouting with the Jays. I want to see what kind of ‘crop’ the young GM can produce.

    As far as a leadoff hitter?

    We will see what the Jays outfield looks like next year? Wells, Snider and ????. I like the conversion of Adam Lind to 1B. The only other guy with some speed I can think of is Bautista, but I don’t know if we are keeping him either? Bautista’s .OBP was .359 last year. Decent. We can’t rule the two insurance SS the Jays aquired this offseason either, Hoffpauir and McCoy are both good .OBP guys and could possible work their way to the club?? In two years I’d say, the will also see the progess of Justin Jackson, a very young 2nd round pick struggling in the minors now?

    Also, I always thought with Overbay’s high .OBP that he should be batting 2nd and not Hill. Hill has proven a capable #3 in my opinion, being our most efficient hitter last year. But you know Cito’s stance on mixing with order. He doesn’t really do it at all.

  5. greg1969

    Roy, I hear ya on Halladay. The FO, like some of my compatriots, seems to be reluctant to trade away Buchholz, in particular (I recall that his name was connected to trade talks last year at the deadline). The FO also seems wary of signing longer-term deals, so it would be interesting to see what kind of years we’d offer, let alone $$ figures. (Contract length, more than $$, seems to stall negotiations with our FO, esp. with “Beam Me Up Scotty” and his clients). There is also some question about how many innings he has logged, and whether he’d hold up. I think that is a “risk” that is rather small, and I would like to see Theo and the FO make the trade.
    I hope A-Gonz works well for you. We (I am a regular on Brownie Points, many of whom hold this view) wish that we had picked up A-Gonz’ option, since it was not much different than what we signed Scutaro for (and as much as we like Scutaro, A-Gonz is younger). So we wished the FO had signed Gonzalez, but not that we are unhappy about Scutaro.

  6. greg1969

    There is indeed some truth in the “parallels” that you pointed to, comparing baseball and religion. I have to laugh, though, as a student of theology (specifically church history) and philosophy, because there is a church history writer named Henry Chadwick as well. (It appears you have studied some of these themes, at least on a historical level, so perhaps you are aware of the “other” Henry Chadwick–he wrote several volumes on early church history). So it is an extra chuckle to read “Henry Chadwick, Baseball Historian”! 😉
    There is another parallel of interest: the itinerant monks (inside and outside the official Roman Church) that brought not only their faith, but literature (secular and sacred) to the European Continent. The Wesleyans (among others) followed suit on this continent. Not unlike the itinerant nature of the Negro Leagues, and the precursors to the Pacific Coast League and its cousins. Loose, but interesting, parallels. 😉
    Take care, Roy.

  7. welikeroywelikeroy

    Roy thank you for reading,

    First of all, I am flattered that a student in theology actually reads my blog. Didn’t see that coming when I wrote this. In no way was this meant to be academic. I didn’t even proof read it. lol. I did have fun writing it however. I’ll leave the rest of the details to some student college student’s 3-year thesis. I think this took me 2 or 3 hours.

    The thought of Henry Chadwick the ‘Church Historian’ never actually crossed my mind until you mentioned it. I have heard of him briefly. There is some very comical irony in that, and I should have used it along with the amazing insight that you ‘blessed(lol, funny choice of words)’ my article with in the comment section. Being a student in Theology, I’m sure that you could conjure something very cool up as well related to this.

    The baseball Henry Chadwick is honoured in Cooperstown. He basically layed the foundation for the baseball ‘Bible,’ so to speak. He was a journalist that is credited with developing the modern box score and introducing fundamental statistics such as Batting Average and ERA. The man also did a lot to help popularize the game in those years. The man’s influence on the game was huge!

    I’m glad we are agreeing on those Blue Jay/Red Sox related matters. The extension deal demand might definately put a kybosh and any Halladay trade, I agree! When did that become a necessary condition in a trade? I want to know? I don’t hold to much weight to that, I believe a deal could probably be done without it. I agree with the Front Office that Bucholtz prospects are promising, but what is 10 times more promising, is the prospects of getting Roy Halladay! Going on the year Scutaro had last year, bar none you guys got the ‘best SS available.’ I wonder if he can keep that up though, as I’ve said.

  8. greg1969

    I’m sorry, I signed off thinking your name was Roy, because of the “welikeroy” squared that you use. My bad, but FUNNY! Actually, my name’s Greg, hence, the “greg1969”. And yes, I am a trained pastor.
    Take care.

  9. greg1969

    WeLikeRoy: There is an article on the Red Sox homepage that you might find of interest, re Casey Kelly. Since you were discussing him being a part of a potential Halladay trade, you may find it of interest. He looks promising, but he is still at the lower echelons of our farm system. We’ll see if he works out in a Halladay trade, or if we Red Sox fans continue to watch him mature! 😉
    By the way, about last Feb. or March, I had posted a question to you, as I had posted to several others who are your fellow Canadians, about the viability (or not) of baseball in Canada, outside of Toronto. You may or may not remember the conversation, but I remembered it, so I popped by when I noticed your URL again. Anyhow, I’ll revisit again, at least until the season starts! Take care.

  10. welikeroywelikeroy

    Greg, lol, the pastor formerly known as Roy,

    I do remember your question. As I recall, the response I gave was not a favorable one. I said maybe Montreal with a downtown stadium, but pretty much the only hotbed for baseball is the Toronto area. If you can even call it that!! Countless times I’ve been disappointed by the Toronto baseball fan, and we simply don’t support baseball enough at amateur levels here. British Colombia invests more into amateur baseball, but I don’t think that they would have a viable market for a pro team.

    I’ll be interested to see Casey Kelly in the what I call the ‘Bible’ of scouting books, Baseball America, coming in February. He was a real ‘late bloomer’ this year in single-A, so I wonder how he is ranked in the organization now? Still a very young kid that has a long minor-league career ahead of him, for sure. Right now, I’d say the Jays are a great need in acquiring outfield prospects. We are very thin in that area. Plus, looking at the way Wells was last year, and Travis Snider’s rocky start, I would put many current AAA outfields ahead of the Jays. We need organizational depth in that area.

    Thanks for coming by Greg. Till next time. Take care.

  11. welikeroywelikeroy

    Thanks Julia! You are the best.

    Berra and Churchill is a funny one because they both came from around the same era. I thought of two burly short guys that had some good quotes.

  12. bestonwww@yahoo.com

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work. live jasmin

  13. jeniffer.01@live.com

    I usually reckoned by means of Overbay’s superior .OBP that he or she will be batting Subsequent and never Incline. Hl seems to have established a fine #3 needless expenses, staying each of our well organized batter a year ago. And you fully understand Cito’s stance concerning pairing having obtain. Your puppy doesn’t really undertake it at all.

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  14. nwjerico@yahoo.com

    For foreigners and Europeans in most times baseball seems to be meaningless. Al thought I respect this game. But I do not understand why the whole world is calling it football but only in America is known as Soccer.

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  15. setu

    Baseball as an
    institution could now be influenced by the players that play the game. This is similar to the Protestant
    Reformation, where people began to influence religion more than they had been
    able to before in the era of the ‘Holy Roman Empire.’ setu

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