These are tumultuous times, my friends. The divide between liberals and conservatives grows wider by the day, as the right gather on the shrinking island of President Trump’s approval ratings (36 percent, as of this writing) and the left struggle to form a cohesive narrative against what should be the easiest target in political history since Todd Courser.
That's why yesterday’s shooting at a park in Alexandria, Virginia would appear to offer a rare opportunity for two sides to come together. Yes, the shooter was apparently a Bernie bro who targeted GOP lawmakers, which at first glance would only appear to inflame partisan rancor. You’re probably already hearing it from both sides: “Hatred of Trump has radicalized the left into extremism!” “The right’s steadfast refusal to address gun violence has come home to roost!” "No place is safe!" "Never go outside again!"
In the words of Bill Hicks, brothers and sisters, come together. Whether you’ve spent the last 24 hours on Twitter calling for liberals to register like mutants in The X-Men or pointing out the state of Virginia has no requirements for registering (non-machine-gun) firearms, there should be at least one thing we agree on in the wake of this despicable act: baseball has got to go.
What’s that? It’s “America’s Pastime?” A revered sport with a storied history? Merely an innocent bystander in this horrible crime? Not true, amigos. For while I can't prove the Alexandria shooter was also motivated by a hatred of the sport, I can come up with some reasons why he might have been.
They Stopped Making Good Baseball Movies
Think of the last good baseball movie you saw, now try to remember when it was released. Chances are, most of the ones that spring to mind came out in the 80s (Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, The Natural, or Field of Dreams…if you’re into that). Science proves the last better-than-average movie about the sport was 2002’s The Rookie, mostly thanks to the presence of a handsome young go-getter named Dennis Quaid.
Comapre that to other sports. Why, just in the last ten or so years, we’ve seen Big Fan and the Friday Night Lights TV series (football), Goon (hockey), and Glory Road and Semi-Pro (basketball). If you can’t make a memorable movie about your sport more than once every 15 years, maybe it’s time for the sport to go.
The Position Names Are Outdated
"Right field?" "Left field?" My fellow Americans, the time for such divisiveness is over. From now on, left field is "Benghazi," right field is "Merrick Garland," and center field is "Nonexistent," much like its political equivalent.
And what about the infield? "Pitcher" and "catcher" are a little suggestive, yeah? How about changing them to...I dunno, "daddy" and "slave?"
The Curses Are Over
The Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year World Series drought last year. Roughly a decade earlier, the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox ended their own 87- and 85-year (respectively) title gaps. That leaves the Cleveland Indians as the only team in existence before the 1960s with a half-century since their last championship, and — let's be honest — nobody cares.
The Red Sox and the Cubs at least had some national cachet, both in the form of sympathy or schadenfreude, so when they finally broke through there was legitimate interest outside of their respective metro areas. If Cleveland makes it back to the Series this year, no one outside of Ohio will root for them, especially not with that racist-ass mascot. The curses were part of baseball's mythology, and now we're left with that most horrifying of sports bugaboos: parity.
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It Hogs the Entire Summer. And Hustles You to an Early Grave.
Granted, it’s been established that strikeouts are fascist, but I'd argue so is devoting almost three months to a single sport. One of the reasons the summer is so intolerable (from a sports fandom standpoint) is because we only have baseball and the occasional tennis or golf tournaments to talk about. Contrast that with the months of November through January, when the NFL, NBA, and NHL are all going strong. Start basketball later, or hockey earlier (they’re both played indoors anyway), and spare us all from four hours of Baseball Tonight every damn day.
On top of that, the games themselves are nigh interminable. The 2016 MLB season was the slowest in recent memory, with games averaging 3 hours and 6 minutes (and playoff games averaging 3:24). With replay challenges, relief strategies, and pitchers taking time equivalent to read a People article between pitches, baseball is a slog. Among some ways I can think of to shave some minutes: eliminate the National Anthem and player introductions, and skip every other inning.
Politicians in Uniform
Probably no sports attire looks more ridiculous on the non-athletic gentleman than a baseball uni. In basketball, you can hide in long shorts and a T-shirt, and football and hockey have enough pads to conceal that middle-age spread, but tonight’s Congressional game means we’re going to see the likes of Tim Walz (D-MN) and Joe Barton (R-TX) crammed into the uncomfortable outfits. And they’re double-knit polyester? There isn’t enough cornstarch in the world.