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Bats right, throws right, thinks badly, writes worse

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  January 8, 2010 10:12 AM

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It's not often that you get a specimen like this. The Baseball Exceptionalism is bad enough, but that crosses all ideological lines. (Unlike other sports, baseball has a "moral and civic dimension"? Oh, dear. Someone really should introduce Ms. Schaub to the stories of Walter O'Malley and/or Ty Cobb and/or Babe Ruth.)

It's the wedging of everything else into the catachism of culture-warrior cliche that's so haplessly slapstick. Ask a conservative for directions to the mall, and you will get one of two answers: a) the Negro family is imperiled, or b) tax cuts! So it is here.

It may have escaped the author's notice, but there are a lot of empty Little League diamonds in the suburbs, too.  (This is a neat sentence: "Whites freely attended Negro League games and blacks attended Major League Baseball games." Might I be so bold as to suggest that the adverb there makes all the difference? Substitute "drinking fountains" or "trolley cars" and you'll see my point.)

There is so much to be delighted by here. I like the assertion that "baseball has been the most resistant to the inroads of technology." Well, if you don't count pharmaceutical technology, I guess she's right. (And the wooden bat has been "preserved" largely in the major leagues.)

I also got a chuckle out of the bizarre take on soccer, which is not merely boring, but, apparently, "virtue-neutral" because it is played by Bad Countries as well as Good Countries, and baseball is full of values and goodness and ponies because it is played here, the ultimate Good Country. OK, that's just a little rightwing bedtime story, but to then argue, as the author does, that soccer is "never...politically formative as baseball is" is just stupid. Countries have gone to war over soccer games

And, inevitably, there is Ronald Reagan, who would have found this whole thing too hilarious. Schaub summons up ol' Dutch's days as a radio sportscaster as "important for the development of his skills as a political orator." Considering that Reagan's job at WHO in Des Moines involved recreating Chicago Cubs games -- i.e. making stuff up -- then Schaub at least explains where all that stuff about "welfare queens" and liberating death camps came from.

How do you get to be on The Boyd And Jill Smith Task Force On The Virtues Of A Free Society anyway? Draw the pirate on the matchbook cover?

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