May 22, 2013
Who is Shyster?
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Friday, July 24, 2009
My Morning in Exile: My wife drives me nuts editionSo my wife -- who is not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination -- goes to the Columbus Clippers-Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees game last night. It was a work function and the beer was free. You know how that goes. Anyway, when she came downstairs this morning I asked her how it went. I wish I was embellishing it, but this is basically a verbatim transcript of the conversation. I'm not joking:
Me: How was the game?
Ms. Shyster: Good, I guess.
Me: Who won?
MS: I don't know. I couldn't tell.
Me: What do you mean you couldn't tell? There's a big scoreboard out in the outfield.
MS: Yeah, but it had, like, a million numbers on it. I didn't know which one was the score.
Me: [taking a beat to contemplate how I've been married to this woman for 14 years -- how, because of her wonderful influence, I've absorbed the nuances of ballet and art and wine and fine dining and everything else that makes me the well-rounded guy I pretend to be, yet zero baseball has penetrated that beautiful head of hers]: There are three columns to the right. One has an "R" at the top, one has an "H" at the top and one has an "E" at the top. The "R" column is runs. Whoever had the highest number in that column won. [note: I've given up actually trying to determine who won at this point; I'm thinking more about making this a teaching moment].
MS: Runs -- those are the same as points?
Me: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yes.
MS: How do they get points again?
Me: [it's dawning on me too late that she's almost certainly f*cking with me now, but she's doing it with such seeming innocence that I decide to press on anyway]: When a batter crosses home plate, like, if he hits a home run, for example, that's a run. You know this.
MS: Right, but for purposes of the scoreboard -- that's a hit too, right? So they get numbers up there for both of those things.
Me: Yes, but only the run column is the score. On a single play it's possible for there to be a run, a hit and an error, and all three of those things are accounted for up there.
MS: [I think this is actually an honest question]: What's an error again?
Me: When the fielders make a mistake. Say, someone bobbles a ball or throws it away or to the wrong guy or something.
MS: Why would anyone throw the ball to the wrong guy? They're wearing different color uniforms. How much of an idiot do you have to be to throw it to the wrong guy? [she's starting to laugh now, so I know she's f*cking with me].
Me: [ignoring it all and making the point I hoped this little Socratic dialogue was going to lead to when it began]: Whatever. Look, the point is that the reason there are so many numbers is that things besides the actual score are documented. The scoreboard is updated for everything that happens. Those guys with the notebooks in the stands? They're keeping score. Everything that happens on a field in a game results is some kind of notation. All of those notations taken together can be distilled into a small space called a box score [really hitting my stride now] You know that blog post I write every night that makes you so mad at me? That's basically me reading box scores of 15 baseball games and recapping them all. I can do that because the numbers tell a story. I can divine from them most of the important things that happen in a game, even if I've didn't see the game. That's why there's so many numbers on the board.
MS: [waiting a moment to make sure I'm done]: Well I guess you're quite the savant, then, aren't you.
She then continued with her breakfast. I left for work, wondering who I pissed off in my past life to deserve all of this.
Are there any paleontologists married to creationists? Do they make it work?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:19pm
Richard in Dallas said...
You must have angered the ghosts of Abbott and Costello…
Posted 07/24 at 12:51 PM
Richard Barbieri said...
For the record, it was SWB 2, Columbus 1. Good game, actually featuring—this is true—a pitching duel between Kei Igawa and Fausto Carmona.
Posted 07/24 at 01:17 PM
Bob Timmermann said...
I did not relieve that Mr. and Mrs. Shyster had a marriage out of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Posted 07/24 at 01:22 PM
I propose that from now on Jon Heyman is only referred to as Lord Haw Haw.
Posted 07/24 at 01:25 PM
Chris G said...
Throwing the ball to the wrong guy would be a fielder’s choice.
Try explaining that to the wife.
Posted 07/24 at 01:27 PM
In re: Buehrle’s ump:
And they both wear #56!
It’s a conspiracy!
(Oh… the internet.)
Posted 07/24 at 01:32 PM
Three years ago, my girlfriend loved baseball, and so I asked her to marry me. Now we live together. Now she wants to watch Antiques Roadshow. Not the game. Traitor.
Posted 07/24 at 01:40 PM
Andy H said...
In defense of your wife, it is hard to know which number is which, as I learned trying to explain when I took my daughter to a game. It’s also hard to explain the rules in a simple way because there is always an exception.
Posted 07/24 at 01:52 PM
Queen of the Wien may be closing the gap.
Posted 07/24 at 02:01 PM
At least your wife knows enough about the game (and you) to know how to f*ck with you. After the first explanation of how to find the score, my wife would’ve said, “Oh”, which translates as “I couldn’t care less”.
Posted 07/24 at 02:07 PM
Richard Barbieri said...
I sat in front of someone at a game once who examined the scoreboard for a few moments, then turned to her friend and goes “What’s a Rhee?”
Of course, she then spent the rest of the game reading Atlas Shrugged, so clearly not one of our brighter lights.
Posted 07/24 at 02:38 PM
My husband and I both love baseball, but there are certainly things he does that drive me crazy—right now he’s talking about potential trades, adds, and drops for his fantasy league. And talking, and talking. A few minutes ago it was a diatribe on the trivia game he was playing (sporcle.com ... never get work done on your computer again!).
I can’t walk by a bookstore without spending an hour or so looking through books. And he really hates trying to wake me up in the morning. I’ll go easy on myself and end the list there… but safe to say if it weren’t her take on baseball that drove you crazy, it would be something else
Posted 07/24 at 04:38 PM
Bob Rittner said...
Take your pregnant wife, who is from Brazil and who knows nothing at all about football (and doesn’t even care much for soccer), to a football game in Yankee Stadium on a particularly cold December Sunday. Sit in the 3rd deck. Then, having already pointed out where the game clock is, try to explain why the last 2 minutes of the game seems to go on quite a bit longer.
And we are still married.
Posted 07/25 at 02:09 AM
Craig, when I met my future wife, she knew absolutely nothing about baseball, but sensing my obsession with it, she decided it would be good to catch on. So after 10 years of marriage, she now has a very good grasp of the game, which I appreciate. The funny thing is, she often gets her baseball terminology mixed up, as if she’s dyslexic. Perfect example, she’ll ask me “how many scorers in running position have the Yankees had so far?” It’s hysterical.
On another note, I don’t know if it’s because the game is very intuitive and you have to grow up with it or whatever, but I have a very hard time explaining it to people sometimes. I live in New York City, so several of my friends are immigrants (mostly Irish, who settle in Queens and become Mets fans, God help them), and they just don’t get it no matter how many different ways I explain it. Then again, they can’t get me to understand the excitement of soccer, so there you have it.
Posted 07/25 at 11:22 AM