Not unlike the astrophysicist whose ever-increasing intimacy with the universe only serves to convince him that it (i.e. that same universe) is the result of a thousand miracles, so too does the analytically inclined baseball writer, with every spreadsheet he populates with sexy data, become more resolute in his opinion that the game is designed to transcend reason.
Such being the case, I was less surprised than I might have otherwise been when, while working quietly in my study last night, I was visited by the ghost-specter of former and long-dead MLB executive Bill Veeck. After accepting a brandy, the noted jackanapes confessed that, while the afterlife offered myriad pleasures, he was frustrated by his inability to personally disrupt what he regarded as a “wave of conservatism” among modern baseball ownership. I will neither confirm nor deny that he directly cited and threatened bodily harm upon Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Jeffrey Loria’s gentleman’s tackle.
Sensing his angst, I offered — in return for the services that he’d rendered so hard when he was alive — I offered to serve as a vessel for Veeck, to transcribe for the giant and teeming readership of NotGraphs.com.America any ideas he might have at the ready with which to enliven a game that, occasionally, is prone to the forces of boundless and malevolent profiteering.
What follows are seven of those proposals.
Artisanal, Free-Range Baseball Night
Players are required to supply and make by hand all relevant equipment for a regulation baseball game, including (but not limited to): the baseball itself (crafted from the cow’s hide), all the bats (from fallen trees), and however many gloves as necessary (from other, different cows).
Birth Control Giveaway
The first twenty-thousand women between ages 16 and 49 in attendance receive a year’s supply of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo.
Honkey Tonk Batting Practice
Veeck himself was unsure as to what precisely Honkey Tonk Batting Practice might entail, but was still convinced of its possible merits.
Veeck’s words exactly on this matter: “One word: knife ball.”
Meet a Cuban
The first twenty-thousand fans in attendance are invited to meet a Cuban. Not, like, a real player on their team or anything; just whatever Cuban guy or guys happen to live in the relevant metropolitan area.
Night of Shining Armor
Every player wears a suit of plate armor, such as that utilized by soldiers during the Battle of San Romano, fought in 1432 between the troops of Florence and Siena.
Ten-Thousand Dollar Beer Night
Like Ten Cent Beer Night, except a lot more profitable.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.