Two More Indications Of The Death Of The West

Headline: “MLB considering starting extra innings with a runner on second base“.

According to one dismal story:

Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.

One reason for the support is that other decadent countries have adopted the rule. If every other country walked off a cliff, or switched to aluminum bats, would we, too?

Joe Torre provided a more important, but far less manly, motivation.

“It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.

“It’s baseball. I’m just trying to get back to that, where this is the game that people come to watch. It doesn’t mean you’re going to score. You’re just trying to play baseball.”

No ties in baseball. Just like it used to be in real life, before equality of outcome began to be mandated. The same puritanical effeminate degenerate spirit that brought in instant replay review is responsible for this horrid change.

Listen: Torre is wrong. It is fun to watch the chess match of shifting pitchers in an extra-innings game, knowing that tomorrow the team starts a three-game series with their traditional rivals, and the pennant is in view. Is today’s win as important as tomorrow’s? What would easing off do to the moral of the players—and fans?

And doesn’t anybody remember this is just a game? It is a pastime, an entertainment, a diversion. Great excitement is had watching teams pushed to their utmost. But in the end, it is just for fun. Torre, being too close, forgets that. He speaks like a general plotting the best strategy and not like a ballplayer. Mistakes, too, are part of the lore of the sport, and that is the reason why instant replay is an abomination. The imperfections are what we come for; they allow the true beauty, which is rare and should be, to shine.

Headline:Read all about it! Books are back in fashion, shelves are wackier than ever and libraries are the new stars of Instagram.”

According to a survey by Aviva, one in ten of us doesn’t own a book but, conversely, sales of printed books are on the rise.

Why? Books do decorate a room, that’s why.

Good-looking or quirky book shelves are becoming so popular that they’ve earned their own hashtag on photo sharing site, Instagram.

Type in #shelfie and hundreds of images pop up of hexagonally arranged books, colour co-ordinated spines and novels that appear to be floating up walls.

Book fetishism. Who saw that coming? Well, it was obvious. All those books which pour forth as a cataract from publishing houses and which fewer and fewer are reading had to go somewhere. Some line furniture stores, the rest are being snatched up by designers. “‘Try creating individual stacks in similar, but graduated hues,’ says Nadia McCowan Hill, resident style expert at online interiors company Wayfair.” Arranging by subject matter or author are out, stacking by hues is in.

I’m complaining not only because of the demise of reading, which that cataract paradoxically contributes to: it’s harder to separate wheat and chaff, and which anyway was inevitable with increasing formal education (let the reader understand), but I’m whining because of the pragmatic concern of what this does to the price of used books.

It’s getting tougher all the time to find a physical used bookstore (or even new bookstore). Buying on-line carries a minimum of about four bucks, after postage and “handling” fees, which is too high for an old paperback novel. Once designers start sucking up books for their non-reading clients, the price can only go up for those who want to read.


  1. Michael Dowd

    What next? Robotic baseball!

  2. Yawrate

    The trouble is that the game has been slowed down. Slowed to the point that something as ludicrous as the man on second seems tenable. Instant replay has added to the time of play as well. But it seems nearly a pointless solution to accept the man on second. How many games are actually tied after the bottom of the ninth?

  3. Sheri

    “If every other country walked off a cliff, or switched to aluminum bats, would we, too?”


  4. Gary

    And doesn’t anybody remember this is just a game?
    No, it’s a business masquerading as a game. Red Sox tickets range from $73 to $2103; even bleacher seats are $23. The park is covered with advertising. Ex-players charge for autographs. Well, maybe it is a game, but a different kind of game than the one that used to be fun.

  5. Could be worse. Take a page out of the hockey and soccer playbook and have a shoot-out. For baseball, starting in the 11th inning: home run derby.

  6. Please don’t equate the USA with “the west”, nobody plays baseball or american football outside the USA, it’s not cricket.

  7. Ye Olde Statistician

    Baseball is also played in Cuba, the Republic, Venezuela, and elsewhere, as well as in Japan. Versions of American football are also played in Canada and Australia with slightly different rules.

    How about “set baseball”? A game consists of three sets of three innings each, and to win you must win two of the three sets.

  8. Baseball isn’t nearly as popular as it was before the constant commercials and over-athletic players and pitching at unendurable speeds. They need to speed up the game, and maybe move a pitchers back some feet. Something. I haven’t enjoyed the game much since the early eighties, and used to be a big fan when I was a kid. Also, the business set-up is really sleazy. They need a system more like they have in football and basketball where every year almost every team at least has a shot. Did love last years World Series though. Watched it from the hospital. Made me feel much better! If the Cubs can win a World Series, then I can beat this, I thought! It really helped. 🙂


  9. Joe Skonue

    Brushing aside the dullness of watching nine innings never mind extra innings, why not merely end a regular season MLB game in a tie?

    There is simply no reason to play extra inning games during regular season play.

    A tie at nine innings reveals the teams to be equals on that day, the time, the place, the state of players in relation to each other and environment.

    A better fix to MLB would be to reduce seasons to at most 120 games and maybe even 100. Does it really take 162 games to clearly define which teams ought to proceed to the playoffs?

  10. Bill

    Book fetish? I’ve always loved hand bound books , with tooled and gilded leather covers and marbled edges so much that I’ve made a few (without the leather, sadly)

  11. Joy

    One minute America pretends to be leading then next moment it pretends to be an unwilling zombie follower, depending upon the argument in hand, of course!
    America doesn’t need a leader to the cliff, it can find it’s own way there. Only the daftest alarmist would believe it’s actually happening but it depends on how you define the cliff.

    “Versions of American football are also played in Canada and Australia with slightly different rules.”
    That’s not true. Aussi’ rules football is a completely different game and is not a strange c ops of the American one.

    Just as Irish “soccer”. It is a separate game.
    The Americans call it wrong: “football” is the game played with the foot primarily with hands disallowed unless you’re goalie. The game of Soccer which the Americans like to refer to as English soccer is the misnomer and almost always said transparently for a rise. Adopted for trendy effect by the easily affected.

    The World Series is a joke title.
    Hans is right.
    Baseball is the grown up version of rounders.

  12. Steve E

    Sorry Joy if Hans is right and “nobody plays baseball…outside the USA” then what’s wrong with calling it the World Series? What you’ll find today is that the best players in the world play baseball in the USA. They come from Korea, Japan, the Caribbean, South America, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

    Baseball is nothing like rounders. You might want to watch a professional game live in the ball park with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other. It beats the hell out of cucumber sandwiches and Pimms at a days long cricket match. 😉

  13. Hoyos

    All I know is ever since the Cubs won the World Series, I have assumed nothing is real and we’re all living in a matrix style simulation.

    Or I’m typing this from deep inside a coma.

  14. Joy

    Steve E, I smiled back, I think you know I’m teasing.
    Nothing wrong with baseball as long as they don’t make me play. At rounders as junior school I was always with the fat ones or those who couldn’t run because I couldn’t hit the ball! Loved rounders apart from that.

    Cricket’s a beautiful sound and sight assuming it’s not Panama cricket or the limited over games they play which are more akin to baseball in noise and colour.
    Test match cricket is a thing all on it’s own.
    Hot dogs are fine fair but French fancies and sausage rolls are just as good. Cucumber sandwiches are for when you’re not really hungry but someone’s serving yet more food, afternoon tea and all that.

  15. Steve E

    Joy, I knew you were teasing. I thought I’d tease you right back.

    Three times I wrote a clever reply and had problems getting it posted so I’ll end it here and hope it posts.


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