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British journalist says baseball’s “slickly-packaged razzmatazz” — and other aspects — are metaphors for America

Jul 19, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

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Gonna be honest. I woulda linked this article no matter what it said. Once I saw the phrase “slickly-packaged razzmatazz” I was sold.

But I read it, and BBC’s Washington Bureau Chief Simon Wilson sees America in America’s Game. Partially in the obvious — the beer, hot dogs, National Anthem and racing presidents about which the “razzmatazz” line gets trotted out — and sees something deeper. After making the time-worn observation about how even the best hitters fail two-thirds of the time, he says:

As a sport, it is really all about failure. Or more precisely how the players psychologically handle failure – the fact that they are going to miss the ball more often than they hit it. And as I have sat in the stands over the years, I have begun to realise just why there is such a rich tradition of treating baseball as a metaphor for life in America … This is indeed the land of opportunity where children grow up being told what a “great job” they are doing and how they might all be president one day. Which is all fine of course, except that for many, perhaps for most Americans, success never really comes.

But despite that — despite the odds being long, the economy sputtering for so long — Americans, he observes, pick themselves up, dust themselves off. They move to far flung places and start new jobs and try to make a new go of it. “Failure – the theory goes – will breed the next success,” Wilson says and believes that it applies equally to baseball and America as whole.

I want to believe that. Indeed, when I think of the promise of America or the American dream I don’t think of some Horatio Alger story. I don’t think of someone coming from nothing and making millions. I think of people who are near nothing anyway but still go on and still plug away and don’t spend as much time lamenting their lot as they do trying to better it, at least marginally.

Maybe that’s just as much a rarity — or even a fantasy — as the Horatio Alger story. And maybe it’s colored a lot by where I grew up. People in Flint, Michigan and Southern West Virginia tend not to go in for Horatio Alger. They just plug on. But I it’s what I think of as the best of America.

  1. redguy12588 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Beautiful sentiment. I’d love to believe that.

  2. historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Ok, how is that “American” as opposed to human? *sigh*

    • blacksables - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      Because it is. I’ve lived in a lot of different countries. There are places where people have a defeatist attitude, and countries where the people have given up hope.

      And countries where they stop trying and expect other people to take care of them.

      For a lot of people in the world, getting by is the best it ever gets, and they don’t worry about tomorrow, because it might not come.

      We’re not unique, but we are in a minority.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        What makes you think it isn’t like that for a lot of people here? And, isn’t that CC’s point: people trudge on. That’s like every Russian novel ever.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        @ historio – doesn’t really sum up Gogol 😉

      • blacksables - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Well, that was the point I took from it. They trudge on and accept their fate.

        We have the expectation that things can get better. They don’t.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        *You* have the expectation it gets better.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Historio – You see, its like pitcher Wins, you don’t need any evidence for them, just assert that they are a good measure of performance and keep the rest obscured. In the same way, one simply looks at the Russians and asserts that they are defeatist, and that Americans are not, we have more TWTW to borrow a great stat, and thus it is absolute truth that we can pick ourselves up from nothing and into something, but more important, that we all uniformly expect to do so.

        Its why the lottery never got popular here in favor of hard work and effort.

        Also, gratuitous use of ‘us’ and ‘them’, sprinkle liberally throughout my post as appropriate.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        If you don’t want to have the expectation that things will getting better, that is also your choice and your free to make it.

        I prefer my eggs sunny side up, I guess.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        That really isn’t the point. The point is whether or not there is anything uniquely ‘american’ about that, and whether or not that expectation is actually realistic for the vast majority of americans. The answer is no and no, btw.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        While I can’t speak on the former comment as any kind of expert, I disagree with you entriely on the latter.

        I started out as a dishwasher, I now make six figures. No special treatment, no rich family, no college degree. All hard work and perseverence and the willingness to explore various fields of work.

        So when I see a sad commentary like that, I don’t buy it for a second. It’s an excuse.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        It’s really unattractive when you act morally superior, blue.


      • stoutfiles - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        That’s hilarious. Hilarious in that you fail to see that America is quickly becoming one of those countries. A lot of people HAVE stopped trying because the govt. handouts are too good. A lot of us realize that you can’t become President unless you’re willing to play ball with all the crooked politicians in our democracy…err, oligarchy.

        Other than that we are still 1st world and things are pretty good here, but the way things are going…

      • dcarroll73 - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        heyblue…’s comment was “I started out as a dishwasher, I now make six figures. No special treatment, no rich family, no college degree. All hard work and perseverence and the willingness to explore various fields of work. So when I see a sad commentary like that, I don’t buy it for a second. It’s an excuse.”
        You have been (so far) one very lucky case that the statistical evidence on socioeconomic mobility proves is a major outlier. However if you’d rather totally focus on your own anecdotal case (and your own explanation for it) please feel free. With income and other disparities widening, this sort of magical thinking is really dangerous. Just hope your happy train doesn’t have a wreck as has happened to millions of Americans.

      • spudchukar - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        And of course, the clock never runs out on you.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        It’s got nothing to do with morals, Historio. I equate it effort and flexibility. What I do is not my dream job, then again, not so bad, and will allow me to enjoy my dream job and an early retirement. Again, eggs sunny side up.

        Stout. There’s a few things at play, but we’re actually not that bad off in the long run. There is a phenomenon called “onshoring”, you can research it, but it’s a real event. If you combine that with the efforts of domestic oil and gas ( as long as those efforts are not totally undermined by big government ) , we will be 100% self sufficient in that area and exporting within 20 years.

        All of that means real jobs. Combine that with social networking working its way through China, which, it can be predicted, will see their version of the rights for workers movement, and the fact that you just can’t kill 13,000 people to make a point these days, the scale will start to balance back.

        That’s the long term economics of it.

        And Dcarroll: I was initiated to hard times as a kid. Single parent household, I became an adult at 12, no club sports, no real socializing, handed eviction notices to hand to my father when he got home from his third job. To think I would yell at him as a teenager about not having a social life when the man was getting 4 hours of sleep a night to keep the lights on. That’s where it stems from. It’s not self righteous, it’s just what happened. I had the best role model I could ask for, me and my brother.

        So the both of us, grew up early, learned to pitch in as soon as we hit 18, things got better with more income coming into the house, I went from the food business, general managing my own chain restaraunt by the time I was 20, 80 hours a week for 35k a year, decided that wasn’t good enough for me, applied at a car dealership and got three years sales experience, 40 hours a week averaging the same money ( another form of moving up ) and by the time I was 24 I had experience running my own business and three years of sales in a hardcore sales business. Makes for a good resume, and good training, in many things.

        I’ve been where I’m at ever since and have excelled. It’s not a pipe dream. It’s a process. I’ve seen the interviews, there are jobs to be had, but people are having a hard time finding someone to fill the position because they need someone with a certain skill set to fill it. If I were a free agent on the job market, that’s the kind of thing I would be looking into.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        HeyBlue – Much like you, I started as a window washer when I was 12, the family needed more money. I make well into six figures now as well also. Does not change the fact that while yes I worked hard, I was also damn lucky. I was lucky to have a friend who grabbed me and dragged me to an interview for a tech support job despite having no education in tech during the 90’s(no education at all, actually, I dropped out at 15). I was lucky enough to run into someone a couple years later looking to start a computer business sideline who decided to take a chance on me running it for him when I was 19. I was lucky enough to get noticed on online forums posting technical assistance in the late 90’s which led to a Microsoft job offer. And I was lucky several times since then to be in the right place at the right time where my talents got noticed and led to bigger and better things.

        I did not *make* those situations and many of my peers never ran into such luck. Despite hard work and dedication. I am certainly responsible for upholding my end, I put in good work in a career that like you, I did not choose(but suits me well enough). But I am not able to take credit for the actions of others, or the timing of other events.

        If it was not for my friend Loren in 1995 coming into my apartment and dragging me out of bed to a job fair for Symantec, I *never* would have had a tech career at all. At the time I was working as a radio DJ, a job that I was good at and that was promising seeming. It also turned out to be a dead end, had I stayed in it I’d have never had any real measure of success given the death of local radio.

        Secondly, anecdote is not evidence. There is no evidence of any trend of upward mobility in the United States, and in fact all studies on the concept have demonstrated we are worse than we have been in a hundred years on that. Yes some people move up, but it is the rare exception, and not at rates that are appreciably any better than other first world nations. Which strongly implies there is nothing special about the US in this regard.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        You’re lucky to have that friend, and the DJ job is how I felt about the food business. It would eventually end up being a brick wall.

        If you want to look at your case as luck, you’re free to do so, but I would say also, it seems you took advantage of every opportunity thrown at you. If you would have failed or been lazy at any of those in between stages, to those future doors of opportunity open?

        That in essense, is a big part of what makes this country kind of awesome. Think about where else in the world that sort of scenario can happen. I give you credit for “chance favoring the prepared mind.”

        As far as the other stuff goes, it’s all very much for real. Onshoring is happening, will become a bigger trend as China becomes less stable or less competitive, and the only thing that can screw it up is our own government getting their hands too far into things.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        While I agree that I was prepared and jumped on chances that dropped into my life, and even occasionally manufactured opportunity when possible, I think you are casually dismissing the fact that the pivotal opportunity was completely outside of my control. Yes I went with him, yes I managed to get through an interview for a job I was woefully underqualified for(part of why they hired me they told me later was my willingness to admit my lack of qualification which they felt meant I could learn). But none of that changes the fact that the opportunity simply does not show up without a huge chunk of luck.

        The same goes for the later recruitment by Microsoft. Had I chosen a different forum, had I not responded in the way I did, had I not responded to the specific issue that got their attention, had I not had a friend who was willing to drive me six hours to Redmond in an era when I did not own a car or know how to drive…

        It all ends up. In my younger days I was happy to take complete credit for my success. As I’ve gotten older I have come to realize that I am only accountable for a portion of it, much like pitcher wins. 😉

        Also, again, I have seen zero evidence the opportunity is greater in the US than in other first world nations. Europe and Asia produce thousands of success stories as well, and as pointed out upward mobility in the US is actually on a downward trend over the past few decades.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        ” part of why they hired me they told me later was my willingness to admit my lack of qualification which they felt meant I could learn ”

        I love this, we hire along the same lines of thinking here. It’s why the corporation I work for can take the right diner waitress and make her a breadwinning money making machine.

        And we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the future. Just know, as is my nasty habit, if I turn out to be right and we’re still around to debate this sort of thing, I will needle you a tad. 😉

        Thank you for the rational discussion, some days that’s hard to find here.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        I’ll point out that it was a different time in tech in the mid-90’s. Degree programs simply were not that valuable in the commercial space, they were focused on the ‘science’ part of Computer Science, and that taught little about building commercial software. That table has turned, I would *never* advise someone wanting to get into tech now to skip a formal CS degree, while you can still get in it is monumentally more difficult than it was when I got started.

        Not to sound insulting, btw, but people who believe they have a habit of being right tend to be people who suffer from excessive amounts of selection and confirmation bias. Just earlier today I was marveling about how wrong I was about both SpaceX and Tesla Motors just a few years ago(dismissed them as rich people hobbies, turns out the first is productive and making runs to the ISS, the second is rapidly becoming a viable car company with aims at the mainstream). Recognizing that I was wrong helps me make better predictions in the future. I disagree with your feelings about China, I know and work with too many Chinese, they honestly do not care in the way that we do about these things. Furthermore, there are plenty of places out there that industry can run to if China’s labor becomes more expensive. And simply based on the fact that I do a lot of hiring I can say that insourcing is just not happening, at least not for skilled labor. I hire more people in India than I do here by far.

        We will see, but be careful that you do not simply accept the reality that is convenient to your world view and ignore all the things that are not. Thanks for the civilized discussion.

      • anxovies - Jul 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Every time we have one of these kinds of discussions somebody comes up with a comment about government handouts or Evil Obama as the root of American failure. With our streets crowded by homeless beggars, people with severe mental disabilities, and unruly, impoverished children it makes you wonder who is getting all of these handouts.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Seems like a good attitude for a former British Colony to have – stiff upper lip and all that.

      • professormaddog31 - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        In my travels, I have been honored to meet a lot of really cool people from a lot of different countries. I always ask what their impressions are of Americans as a country and as a people – since people are not their governments, you know? The best response I’ve ever gotten was from my English friend Meany, who replied, “Americans cheerfully head towards disaster thinking things are going to be better. British people cheerfully head to disaster knowing that it’s doomed to fail.”

        I think that’s what people are trying to get at here.

      • indaburg - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        That’s perfect, professormaddog. You said it perfectly. We know we’re on the Titanic. We’re laughing.

    • baddogjosie - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      It’s why America was settled. Jamestown and Plymouth were settled with people looking for a better life. Western expansion and the Gold Rush echoed that. The Industrial Revolution saw untold numbers of people achieve wealth and prosperity. It’s more American than human because the ideal is realized more often here than other places where for centuries the ruling classes decided who should move up from the working class. It exist elsewhere now because of America.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        OMG, you guys kill me. BTW, thank you for the white man history there.

        Have a nice day.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        Yeah, and no other country ever had a resource rush, the Industrial Revolution was a US centered phenomenon, Jamestown and Plymouth were about ‘better lives’ rather than ‘oppressed and somewhat crazy religious cults fleeing oppression’, and of course the very concept of upward mobility originated in the United States rather than thousands of years before in places like Athens….

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Fair point. I don’t think all of those dirt farmers in rural India or China are planning on making it big anytime soon, nor are they planning on throwing in the proverbial towel. What would be their plan B?

      I think, in the past, the thing that was particularly American was the possibility of pulling yourself up the social and economic ladders with hard work and ingenuity. Sadly, the path we have been on seems to be cementing people into their spot in the hierarchy to a greater and greater degree. While there will surely be extraordinary cases of poor folks making it big, I have a tough time imagining a return to the days when hard work was the main prerequisite for achieving middle-class comfort.

    • indaburg - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      Dominicans dream of NYC, where streets are paved in gold. Nay, platino. So do lots of poor people who still dream of America (strong accent). We Americans are more jaded. We know a little better. Streets of oro? Sure, Jose. Wash those dishes, will ya? But we keep chugging along. Keep swagger and carry on.

  3. baseballici0us - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Well that’s an angle I never thought of before. He is partly right, Pitchers don’t necessarily fail 2/3 of the time.

    Unfortunately, as a we grow older (not as individulas but as a nation, or even the world since we’re so global-oriented) we realize that the American dream as it taught to us is indeed a fantasy – sadly, it is a false sense of hope.

    But just because the “American Dream” has become a cliche or a “once upon a time” concept, or it’s original meaning lost over the past few decades, it does not negate this: America was, and still is, the land of opportunity. We do, as he notes, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, we “plug on.” That IS the American Dream, the opportunity itself, whether we succeed or we fail, the fact that we have the freedom to do either one of them…well, we’re all living the dream, are we not?

    • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Are you serious with that?

      • baseballici0us - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        define serious

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        not trolling & honestly believe that

      • anthonyverna - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Ask every Canadian comedian if they would have stayed in Toronto. (Ok, bad example, but I’m working.)

      • baseballici0us - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        OK, sorry, just wanted to be sure you weren’t doing the same.

        No, not at all trolling. Listen, I’m not the best “writing-type-person” so maybe I didn’t express it correctly. But yes, sure, I meant what I said. To put it simply: (a.)We’re free to fail and we’re free to succeed. (b.)The American Dream is not what it used to be.

        That said, I’d be happy to elaborate if you want me to.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        During what time was the so-called “American dream” ever a reality for the majority of the population?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Like never.

      • blacksables - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Wow, Reflex, you’re just intentionally obtuse, aren’t you?

        It’s called the ‘land of opportunity’, not the ‘land of fulfilled dreams’.

        Every one has the opportunity (dream). That’s the promise. The opportunity.

        No one has ever been promised anything beyond that.

        You really are a sad person who has never contributed a positive idea here, just insults and arguments. You can’t imagine the world we live in, because your’s is just too dark and twisted to comprehend that your way is not the only way.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        WTF, sables. Reflex says lots of funny stuff. You must just miss his best work.

        And, I agree with him. It’s the land of opportunity for a very few. Anyone from Greenwood would know that.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        The funny thing to me is that I am living what many would consider the American Dream. My family was dirt poor, living on welfare, in a bad neighborhood and no educational expectations. I’m a software engineer making a living in the upper 20% of the country and doing well.

        The problem is that my siblings, who are every bit as bright as I am, have not done so well despite putting in tremendous effort, serving their country(two are ex-military), etc. The difference, honestly, is luck, I had some opportunities that passed my way that they did not, and I managed to latch on to them.

        I can’t look at a system that works based on luck and say that its some sort of dream. Its not, and its not fair, nor is it at all something to be proud of. My father worked his butt off his entire life, insane hours first in construction and later in restaurant management. He was never an idiot with his money, and yet here he is, 68 and dependent on a SS check and a tiny pension. If he didn’t live with me he’d barely make ends meet. How did he not ‘work hard enough’? By comparison to his life I have it easy.

        I used to think that I was just brilliant and more driven then others, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve witnessed more and more people who are smart and driven and just never have the right opportunities. And rather than using my own luck as proof of superiority, I’ve lost the ego and realized that yeah, I got damn lucky. Sure I worked hard when given the chance, but those chances were not within my control.

      • blacksables - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Respectfully.

        When I was in LA, i worked with kids who had been in the country for less than two years, and spoke no English when they arrived. Yet many of them could read, write, and speak English better than a lot of the Americans kids they went to school with (as verifed by testing).

        They all had the same opportunity, in the same school. To learn the language. Some chose to do so. So decided being un-functionally illiterate was a better way of going through life.

        Opportunity comes with the expectation that you have to work at it, not sit back and have it given to you. Any one who is willing to work for something in this country has the opportunity to succeed. And success comes in many different forms.

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        What about all the people who work really hard and put in all the effort and learn all they are told they need to learn and who still do not succeed? Because such stories vastly outnumber the stories of ‘success’ unless you so dilute the term ‘success’ to mean something like “well, they didn’t die of the black plague now did they?”

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        sables, I think the example you gave epitomizes people here in America who do not believe it will get better or dare to hope for more…trudging on.

      • eatitfanboy - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:18 PM

        @anthonyverna- FREE MR. TONY!

    • petey1999 - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      No matter how badly you did today (mostly), there’s another game tomorrow in which you can be a hero. And when the season ends, another one starts from scratch in a short while.

    • pbastille - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      It takes the effort to make it happen, probably more now than in the past, but you can still make the dream a reality. My oldest son had a serious learning disability, and we wound up home-schooling from ages 14-16. He passed his GED, then tried a few business courses at the local community college before his 17th birthday. He picked up some general knowledge, but failed the courses because of his inability to pass the tests. Next stop was two years at Penn College, Penn State’s technical school, where he learned auto mechanics. Had to stretch the two years into three because he couldn’t pass the few academic courses the first time he took them. He graduated and decided he wanted to start his own business. He bought a 25 yr old pick-up and started recycling everything he could get his hands on — metal, computer parts, batteries, plastics, etc — in order to raise the capital to start a used car business. Once he raised the capital, he started buying barely roadworthy cars, fixing them, and selling them on Craigslist until he had enough cash to get a legit dealer’s license and could buy better cars. He works 7 days a week, sometimes until 3 AM. A year and a half after starting the recycling, he has a business with 20 cars on his lot, a full time employee and a part-timer. He cleared $5K last week. He’s 21. Granted, it’s a small sample size, and he’s a kid driven to prove wrong all the people who thought he was going to be a stupid failure because of his learning disability, but he is making it happen. When I’m watching MLB tonight, he’s watching Bloomberg. When I’m farting around with my fantasy team on-line, he’s on Craigslist looking for cars to buy. He’s making the choices to succeed.

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    There are many metaphors for life in the game of baseball.

    It’s a very much individualized sport, yet you still accomplish the most when you band yourself together and work as a team.

    Failure is a part of life, we all fail at most of what we attempt. But you get up, dust yourself off, and try again. And again, until you get it right.

    It’s not a race, rather a marathon, and something to be savored and enjoyed.
    Sometimes it’s more about the experience than the results.

    You may win or lose, but there’s a fresh start tomorrow.

    Younger players tend to rely on instinct and physical ability, while the older you get, the more you need to rely on intelligence and experience.

    It’s about making subtle adjustments, learning from the past, and applying that in the future.

  5. chrisdtx - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Razzamanazz is a good Nazareth song.

  6. eatitfanboy - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    He does realize that he comes from a country where the most popular sport (soccer) involves players failing nearly 100% of the time (shots on goal), right?

    • kopy - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Shots, yes. Shots on goal, no. The average goalie makes about 4 saves a game and gives up 1 goal a game. From the other side, 1 out of every 5 shots on goal go in. It’s just that each team takes about 10 shots per game that miss the goal completely.

      • eatitfanboy - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Fine. One out of five is .200. Which is still much worse than the average baseball hitter. Did you have another point?

  7. rick1k6 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I think George Carlin said this: “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

    • sportsdrenched - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Yet, He said this while making millions because he was creative enough that people would pay money to be entertained by him.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        …while so many other aspiring creative men and women got nowhere and settled for careers they did not prefer.

      • sportsdrenched - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Perhaps, but they’re not known for an ironic statement that trashes an ideal; while that same ideal in parts allows them to be incredibly wealthy.

        And we’re back to square one aren’t we. If something doesn’t work out…you have to try something else.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        So, he’s a bad guy for recognizing that he’s not the norm?

      • Reflex - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Furthermore, what about the ideal made him a success? Who says he would not have been just as successful in, say, Canada? What about the United States uniquely enabled him to succeed?

  8. sportsdrenched - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I just like baseball.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Me too.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        Hello, hater.

    • indaburg - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Do you ever wonder why you like the things you do?

      I do. Then I drink a beer. Shuts that question up nicely. Ah, beer.

  9. drewsylvania - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Reminds me of the Dilbert where he came up with the formula for happiness but was prompted raided by the FBI:

    “You’re allowed to pursue happiness, but you’re not allowed to actually BE happy.”

  10. cur68 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    A nice lady I know says baseballs about sex. Personally, I hope she’s right. I wanna score.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Maybe you should lose the monocle…

      • cur68 - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        She LIKES the monocle.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Oh, reeeeeaaaaaly. And who is “she”?

      • cur68 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM

        A saucy little number that I cajoled into liking me

      • historiophiliac - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        Good for you! Did you hit her over the head?

      • cur68 - Jul 20, 2013 at 3:26 AM

        Only a little. I used my charm club. thump and she was mine.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        “charm club” he he

      • cur68 - Jul 20, 2013 at 10:31 PM

        She finds it charming.

  11. usm418 - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    And the worst baseball game is still better than soccer.

  12. paperlions - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Holy fuck….I’m sorry I started to read these comments.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:44 PM


      • paperlions - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Myopia at its best or worst. Apparently, things you don’t see, don’t matter, and things that don’t exist that you think you see, do matter.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Soooo, does that mean you’re not talking to *me* or what? :)

      • paperlions - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Nah, that comment wasn’t directed at you.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Whew. Ok, I don’t really care about anyone else. ha ha

      • paperlions - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM


      • historiophiliac - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        I was hoping you’d get that. 😉

  13. misterj167 - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    “I believe that Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was…an arctic region, covered with ice.”

    -Steve Martin, “I Believe”

  14. 1historian - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    British soccer/football fans

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