Feff at the Bat

This past Saturday, if you didn't notice, was the start of the Major League Baseball World Series. The sad thing is that many people really didn't notice. Aside from citizens of Cleveland, Atlanta, and pissed off Native Americans, many Americans could care less about the World Series this year. In fact, in a recent Feff World poll, more people could name cast members of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman than members of the Atlanta Brave bullpen. So being a fan of the game, I think I'll take a look at baseball this week, and try to figure out what went wrong.

Baseball gurus are always quick to argue that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports, and thus baseball players are the most gifted athletes. Personally I disagree based on the fact that I can hit a baseball, and I'm no Jim Thorpe. I can think of many things in sports that are harder than hitting a baseball. Leaping a foot off the ground to dunk a basketball is pretty tough. Busting through four 6'5" 275 lbs. linemen while staying on your feet and holding on to the ball, defiently requires some skills. Stopping a puck going 100 miles per hour, while balancing yourself on skates, could be called hard. And darting across the length of the court to chase down a bullet forehand, and then returning it with blazing speed and pin-point precision is pretty damn difficult. Now I'm not saying that hitting a baseball is easy, it's just that there are many more difficult things to do. Ted Williams was talented, but not as talented than some guy who throws ringers in horseshoes 95 percent of the time. Pete Rose was gifted, but not as gifted as someone who can hit triple 20's in darts on command. And Hank Aaron had quick hands, but not nearly as quick as any member of the Imperial Red China table-tennis team. Hence, all a Major League Baseball player is, is an average athlete with a lot of luck and practice.

You can say anything you want about baseball, but no sport has produced better movies than baseball. I never liked football movies because when I think of football movies I think of Burt Reynolds, and I hate Burt Reynolds; in fact I still have nightmares of Cannonball Run. However Paper Lion and Little Giants are two great football movies that I recommend. Basketball movies are decent, but there really haven't been too many of them. But being a big Robby Benson fan, I do recommend his hoops movie, One on One. Hoosiers was an outstanding movie, but I don't consider it a movie about basketball, I consider it a movie about humanity, a movie about love, a movie about loss. All those other sports, such as golf or hockey, never really had any standout movies, unless you happen to be a Bill Murray fan. But there have been more good baseball movies than bad Elvis ones. Major League made us laugh, Field of Dreams made us think, The Natural made us proud, and Pastime made us cry. I guess the thing is that people can relate to baseball players, since they are the most like us. Although this quality is good in movies, it is not the greatest in professional athletics.

The decline of baseball can be paralleled to the decline of America, and both of these can be paralleled to the decline of wiffle-ball. Kids just don't play wiffle-ball amymore. When I was a kid there was a wiffle-ball game on every street. We would swing are skinny yellow bats pretending we were Dave Winfield, or throw the hollow sphere as if we were Ron Guidry. The wiffle ball, along with the Nerf football, was an icon of youth in America. Now I don't think they sell wiffle balls in toy stores anymore. The youth of America is declining, you can ask any school teacher to back me up, and the main reason is that since kids are growing up without wiffle-ball, they are growing up without morals, without values, and without hope. Newt Gingrich had the wrong idea about handing out laptop computers to the poor, we should just give them all wiffle balls and the problem will be solved.

Well instead of going into extra innings, I think I'll end this whack due to darkness. So to conclude for this week, Dr. Quinn has a better offspeed pitch than Greg Maddux, John Kruk is not an athlete, and Robby Benson is a real heart-throb.

Now for this week's very special feature, Feff's all-time greatest baseball team:

1B: Wally Joyner
2B: Julio Franco
3B: Roy Smalley
SS: Gary Disarcina
RF: Reggie Jackson
CF: Mickey Rivers
LF: Kevin McReynolds
C: Rick Cerone
P: Mark Langston
DH: Brian Downing