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So they apparently play baseball in Ireland

Jan 13, 2011, 9:45 AM EDT

Irish baseball cap

The Irish influence on 19th century baseball can’t be overstated. Indeed, in his “Historical Baseball Abstract,” Bill James wrote this:

“Baseball in the 1890s was dominated by Irish players to such an extent that many people, in the same way that people today believe that blacks are born athletes, thought that the Irish were born baseball players.”

Insert a century and an ocean and the idea of specifically-Irish baseball players seems kind of odd. Descendants of Irish-Americans of that era have been assimilated, so we tend not to think of them as Irish in the same way they used to be thought of (for better and for worse). No one back in Ireland plays it of course. Or at least that’s what I thought before I read this:

Baseball may be America’s National Pastime, but the Irish have been playing baseball for over a decade. “The Emerald Diamond” is an award-winning documentary that tells the story of Ireland’s new found obsession with the game. Originally released in 2006, “The Emerald Diamond” is being re-released in March 2011 as part of a national screening tour to raise funds for non-profit groups and youth baseball leagues in Ireland and America.

Apparently there are youth and adult leagues all over Ireland now. Got their own website and everything. File that under stuff that (a) I did not know before this morning; and (b) makes me happy.

  1. BC - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Yes, they play baseball in Ireland, but there is a national mandate that you must play with a beer in hand at all times.
    Lot less home runs and a lot more fielding errors. But much more fun.

  2. The Common Man/ - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I volunteer to go over and manage the Guinness Company semi-pro team.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      Damn! beat me to it…. 😦 I love me some Guinness, and Harp isn’t bad either….

      • BC - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:28 AM

        All Jameson’s all the time.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        Yeah, but that’s just for sippin’. What do you do when you want to drink?

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Guinness for the dugout and the field. If you get on base, Davey Lopes (oops…he’s not here anymore —sigh—)…Juan Samuel gives you a Jameson’s neat for running the bases. If you strike out, they switch your Guinness to Bass. If you get picked off watching the pitcher stick out his tongue at you or looking at the birdies, they switch the Guinness to Irish coffee—WITHOUT the Jameson’s (ruh-roh, JDub!!!!).

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    All comments so far reference alcohol in an Irish-centric post. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Now let’s get drunk and fight.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM


      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        And as if on cue, Cake’s “Going the Distance” just started streaming on (a Philly rock station). Damn I’m good.

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Oh and Craig, is that supposed to be an Irish baseball cap, instead of a trendy, hipster, Ireland-loving trucker hat?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      No, it’s a hipster hat. But it’s a British hipster hat. I snagged the image from a UK website. My guess is that it’s sold to English hipster kids who are trying to piss of their English parents.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Add lame trends to the list of similarities we maintain with our mother country.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        With a name like Calcaterra, I’d have pegged you as a Mick…hmmm, you’re full of surprises.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Actually: Calcaterra is my father’s adoptive name. He was born a McIntyre, which was my biological grandfather’s name. I was born with red hair. My beard, when I have it, still grows in red.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Your dad ditched the Mick and went Paisan? We of the shamrocks hereby disown him…but that only holds true for him. His offspring are welcome to return to the ancestral sod.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        Eh, not his fault. His mom divorced the Mick and married the Paisan. You’ll be shocked to learn why she left Jimmy McIntyre: seems he had a problem with drinking and fighting. Really.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        Well, I guess we can accept him back—on a probationary basis, though. One slip-up and it’s the sheleighly for him!

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Wow, Craig. After all of this time (i.e. the last year I’ve read your stuff), I feel like I’m just getting to know you.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    I have a “thing” for redheaded women!!! Is that irrelevant to this post? Probably. Just had to get it off my shoulders I guess…..

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      I was going to post something incredibly inappropriate and irreverant, but I didn’t want to offend you. Suffice it to say it started with fire….

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        Offend me??? Surely you jest sir.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        I’m quite serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        Well, not so much you, but I didn’t want to offend any PC police lurking in the bog around here.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      And why would you want to get the redhead off your shoulders anyway?

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        Well played, well played indeed…. Actually I can think of a few I’d like back on the shoulders come to think of it. Mrs. Jonny5 would kick me in the irish potatoes though….

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        Ahh…redheads…Kate Mara (despite the football Dwarves connection)…Kirsten Dunst (in Spider-Man)…Julianne Moore…uh-oh…be right back….

  6. irishbaseballmovie - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Damn right they play baseball in Ireland. Thanks for the mention!

    • irishbaseballmovie - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      By the way, that hat is atrocious. Feel free to steal the logo or some photos of the Irish team from my page –

  7. Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    All of this has caused me to get my MP3 player out of my truck so I can listen to some good old fashioned Irish music. I may just dance a Jig too. Dropkick Murphy’s anyone? Kiss me! I’m sh!t faced!! I’m soaked, I’m soiled, and brown…….

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Try this for stuff you haven’t heard

      Or lets you create your own.

    • bigharold - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      Live a little try the Pogues or Great Big Sea, (how are actually from Canada but are great)

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        Wait…they have Irish people up there? Who knew?

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        They sound like the barenaked ladies without the sense of humor…. Not too bad Harold. But I’m more of a Flogging Molly type of guy…

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