Dejuve A Nation: Or, How to Youthenize the American Pastime


Many American commenters – OK, one American commenter* has exercised his American commentary of late by claiming that a recent headline, like the ending of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Cupcake, should have been different, that instead of reading, “How to Youthify the Yada Yada,” it should have read, “How to Youthenize the Yada Yada,” a claim to which its author (me!) has now given due deliberation, with much furrowing of brow and drinking of cheap tequila.

Ultimately I’ve decided that though the commenter’s comment was clever and thus wholly indicative of my own mental vacuum of elite waggery, the proposed headline would have suggested a much different story, one centered not on drawing America’s youth to the Pastime and giving it new life, but, rather, on luring America’s youth to the Pastime and subsequently driving them away, thereby administering a slow mercy killing to this moribund sport.

What follows, then, is that very story, in handy sequential suggestions:

In the top of the first, show Frozen – and also hand out popsicles made of frozen cough medicine, Sriracha, hair from the shower drain at the Y, salt, shredded newspapers from Novosibirsk, paprika, Dr. Scholl’s Foot Powder and cumin.

In the bottom of the first, keep showing Frozen – and also dub the voices of Elsa and Anna with voices from a 1950s Yugoslavian physical fitness film that centers on the performance of deep knee bends whilst hoisting sacks of poultry byproducts.

In the top of the second, dress the infielders as an astronaut, a fireman, a policeman and a football player, respectively – and also compel those same infielders to perform a Baroque opera based on the 1546 scientific text De Natura Fossilium.

In the bottom of the second … cupcakes! – with icing made of quartz!

In the top of the third, restart Frozen – and also start Ethan Frome.

In the bottom of the third, suggest a sing-along to the songs of Frozen – and also suggest, nay, enforce a chant-along to the quotations of Chairman Mao.

In the top of the fourth, dress the fielders as Ariel, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Tiana, and Elsa and Anna of Frozen – and also demand a wardrobe change such that each fielder resembles a Yugoslavian physical fitness instructor hoisting the ponderous sadness of Ethan Frome.

In the bottom of the fourth, dress the hitters as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Aquaman, Manfred Mann and Thomas Mann – and also as U.S. education reformer Horace Mann, German scientist Matthias Mann and little-known superhero Poultry Byproduct Man.

In the top of the fifth, encourage the players to fart – but also to do so quietly, perhaps in a soundproof room or a faraway field of sugar beets.

In the bottom of the fifth … explosions! – of righteous indignation! – as it relates to lending practices of banks and billing practices of cable providers!

In the top of the sixth, “slime” the first baseman – and also wash, rinse and dry him quickly while delivering a lecture on hygiene in its original Latin.

In the bottom of the sixth, begin piercing ears – and also begin piercing dreams (“Singer? No. Actor? No. President? Not a chance”) and thus laying the groundwork for careers in middle management.

In the top of the seventh, hand out earbuds and suggest that age-appropriate users blatantly ignore their elders while punctuating their disdain with eye rolls – and also hand out literature on careers in middle management.

During the seventh-inning stretch, have the tween du jour sing the traditional God Bless America. Afterward, give out haircuts identical to that of the tween du jour while also emphasizing the need “to be yourself, all of you” – and also announce that within three to five years the former tween du jour will become a sad caricature of bygone stardom and a tragic exemplar of the pitiless void that every tween, du jour or not, will enter, without exit. 

In the bottom of the seventh, give out new haircuts — which look precisely like those of 1950s Yugoslavian fitness instructors who hoist chicken and sadness.

In the top of the eighth, announce that teachers are “kind of lame” – and also that “if you’re lucky, which in all likelihood you won’t be, each of you young people will look forward to the day when you can sneak a smoke in the teachers lounge just prior to returning to your 4th period English class, where, while pretending to grade theme papers on ‘What I Want To Be!,’ you will sketch unpublishable short stories about a teacher who, with sonnets, attempts to woo the Earth sciences teacher only to learn that he or she is betrothed, with benefits, to Coach Morris, with whom you have a summer roofing service.”

In the bottom of the eighth, announce that parents are “also kind of lame” – and that “when you kids become parents … well, no, let’s be honest, you will never become parents, because in the future, when life itself is a reality show on Bravo and when Bravo operates as a de facto one-world government whose freshly minted currency is the collected tears of its citizenry, intimate human relationships will necessarily yield to important commercial breaks (see: The Real Housewives of Middle Management Types) at the moment just prior to consummation.”

In the top of the ninth, hide SI swimsuit issues under a select few seats – and also declare that hairy palms are nature’s answer to impure thoughts regarding that Brazilian model in the playful Agua Bendita two-piece.

In the bottom of the ninth, promise a car – and also deliver that car, in thousands of scattered parts, without the instructional manual in its original Greek.

*h/t Jim_Turvey, who might actually be a Yugoslavian commenter, or Prussian, or Ottoman, or even Canadian

John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.

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8 years ago

Fantastic ideas. Just don’t youthenize NotGraphs, please!