from The New Yorker
It’s right around the corner. That magical time of year when grown men put on their ball caps, pull up their socks, and take to the field. What is it about this sport that has captured our imaginations for more than two hundred years? It’s really just a simple game played on a large lawn, with forty-six players to a side, two bags of ham, and a pistol with live ammunition.
For those not familiar with the rules, once the “eyeman” is blindfolded and the snakes have been released, the “turtle slinger” is called. He then starts shooting until someone is “out,” at which point teams switch sides and keep playing until there are no more players left, or the visiting team ends its hunger strike.
You don’t have to be genetically gifted to play baseball, unlike other sports. It’s an everyman’s game. In fact, it’s the only game in which a four-feet-two, three-hundred-and-eighty-pound man can slip into the jelly pool on a routine “barryslap” seven out of ten times and still be a hero. It’s the only game in which a man can ride another man dressed like a pony for as long as he wants unless he slips into the snake pit or the “ponyman” starts crying.