CONFOUND YOUR ABSTRUSE BATTINGS-AVERAGES
By Josiah Crabbshaw
I see that Mr. Chadwick has published another one of his Base Ball alamanacks for the impuissant pencil-mongering set. It is not enough for Mr. Chadwick and his ilk to assail us with pedantic rules and regulations; now they have imposed upon this rigorous and manful past-time the prison of diabolical formulae. Consign him and his incomprehensible Battings-Averages to the d — l.
I am afraid Mr. Chadwick and his regiment of monomaniacal number zealots will find there is more to Base Ball than can be recorded in their impenetrable, tedious volumes. They may record the Base Hit, the Strike Out, and the Score, but what figures and schematics can they draw up to describe when those reprobate Smithson twins drive their infernal wagon onto the Ball Field and pelt the players with their stock of rotted rutabagas until they are forced to take shelter in Old Man Grundle’s horse-silo? They are as absent from their charts as common sense and sound judgment.
What do Mr. Chadwick and his hysterical vigilante sport-accountants know from the forced-out at first base or the crowd-out at second, when a Base Ball-man is surrounded by the entire town while he is jostled and insulted until he is forced to take his leave and only occasionally returns in an outburst of violent retribution?
Their score-cards evince little understanding of the subtleties of Base Ball. For example, a batter may take as many throws as he desires until he deems one worthy of swing. Eventually, he may determine that the hurling is incompetent and he announces his intention to take his base. The umpires then erect a standard Base Ball podium where the Bats-man levies his charges of Inadequate Hurls-manship, the opposition rebuts, and the spectators amuse themselves through barrages of invective and hat-menacing until either the umpire awards the base, daylight has expired, or the proceedings erupt into a conflagration of fisticuffs and cudgelry. No record of these routine adjudications appears in a Chadwickite account.
To be most frank, one may assume Mr. Chadwick and his followers have not played the game of Base Ball at all and instead present the impression of bilious invalids who cower in the face of the gentlest Popped Fly. They show no understanding of the finer points of Base Ball-manship: the Outfield Pyramid, the Siege of Third Base, the burning of the Short Stop in effigy, beard-wrestling, and the Fielder’s Claw.
Mr. Chadwick and his coterie desire to take Base Ball from the airy, sun-filled fields to the catacombs of the university, where gown-wearing mathematics enthusiasts squint at their score ledgers through pince-nez. Perhaps he should like to put his outré theories to a rigorous test. Mr. Chadwick can take the players with the highest Battings-Average and Runs Batted In. I will take the heartiest gentlemen with the most resplendent side-whiskers and we will see whose side triumphs.