If there's one thing that has frustrated the MLB over the past 20 years, it's the advent of fewer kids wanting to participate in baseball and the rise of more kids (including girls) wanting to turn baseball into a nerd thing where one is not viewing the glory and beauty of the simple things like the sacrifice bunt, or the devilish trickery behind being left handed. Instead, these un-athletes (read: those possessing far fewer than the requisite five tools plus one penis) have taken to devolving human beings into numbers more complicated than five (plus one) and further, with the advent of computer machines, into bits and bytes and ones and zeros.
This nerdery is coupled with the fact that in other countries, the players who participate in the game of baseball actually are allowed to enjoy themselves. Indeed, as you know, American Baseball joy is a thing to behold internally and in the recesses of ones mind. It was a travesty in MLB's collective eye, the day that men stopped showing up in three piece suits and women stopped showing up with parasols and white dresses. In some parts of the world, a player is allowed to celebrate like a wild untamed child and in those parts of the world, remarkably, the retribution of a bean-ball is not delivered swiftly, with the appropriate huffle and puffle, as it is here.
All this needs to be controlled.
To that end, the elegantly titled Play Ball initiative has been launched.
"The program will emphasize not only organized baseball and softball activity, but also the many variations of the game that do not require 18 players, umpires or a diamond," Manfred said. "We are looking forward to working with USA Baseball and our partner organizations to encourage participation in the many ways to enjoy the National Pastime and to strengthen our support of traditional styles of play."
I, for one, am glad that, while he "throws a bone" to those that would taint our National Pastime, the new Commissioner is clear in his emphasis of tradition. Huzzah for baseball!