The Screwball: The future in baseball spectacles

Google recently demonstrated how its Google Glass, a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display, can enhance your experience at the ballpark. Whenever you wear it, the visual-display application gives up-to-the-moment stats and real-time information such as the variety of a pitch, e.g., a 92 mph two-seamer, and the variety of the hitter, e.g., Matt Wieters.

In the unlikely event that you can’t figure it out on your own, it also tells you what that hitter did to that pitch, e.g., stroked a three-run dinger to right, even if it doesn’t tell you what that hitter enjoys on his sandwich, e.g., mustard. Of course, like all tech trends, Google Glass will surely inspire a host of derivative developments, with websites and social-media outlets creating head-mounted computers to cater to their own niche audiences.

Rose-colored indeed

Don your Match.com Glass, take a gander at Jose Molina and what do you see? You see a toned, athletic young man who enjoys a guaranteed contract of $28 million per year and who, with another solid year under his belt, is destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame and most likely the U.S. Congress.

Social median intelligence

Slide on your Facebook Glass, gaze at Chase Utley and what you see are several messages—examples: “cahse u r awwsum!” and “Ur smexy”—directed at the man himself. What you don’t see is an invitation to his backyard barbecue.

Ad and subtract

Wear YouTube Glass and what you see prior to any baseball is a 15-second commercial for the Cadillac XTS with the newly available 410-horsepower twin turbo. After two minutes of baseball, what you see is a cat playing piano.

The New World Batting Order

With Infowars Glass, produced by conspiracy-theory site Infowars.com, you see that Bartolo Colon really does take VitaCraves Gummies Testosterone; that Yankees GM Brian Cashman really does enjoy a nightly cigar with Director of Major League Umpires Randy Marsh; that the A-Rod/Yankees Saga really was written and directed by Inception’s Christopher Nolan; that the Zack Greinke-Carlos Quentin dustup really was produced by Vince McMahon and the WWE in efforts to attract the lucrative baseball-wrestling crossover demographic; that the A’s really do win so many one-run games—most on into-the-wind homers delivered by arthritic catchers claimed off waivers just eight minutes earlier—because of a two-year contract with Satan; that the Marlins really are tanking their season in order to achieve relegation to the Pacific Coast League; and that when the Yankees traded for Michael Pineda in 2012, the righty’s shoulder really was being held together by baling wire, duct tape and a masticated wad of Big League Chew.

You also see that most conspiracy theories really do center on the Yankees, mostly because the honchos at ESPN really do wear pinstriped pajamas while drifting to sleep in the glow of a Jeter night light.

Of course, whenever you wear Infowars Glass, you can’t understand why other people—or “sheeple,” as you call them—can’t see what you see so clearly.

140 characters, zero value

Wear Twitter Glass and see that the shortstop ate a double-cheeseburger last night, and that he also had curly fries, but that the drive-thru dude didn’t give him enough ketchup, which was a bummer because he likes ketchup.

Inherit the yip

Now that you’re wearing LiveScience Glass, you see that Justin Verlander owes his pitching brilliance to evolutionary adaptations of Homo erectus: the expansion of the waist that enabled the torso to rotate independently from the hips; the lowering of the shoulders that altered the orientation of muscles that store energy; and the twisting of the upper arm bone that helped spear-throwing hunters build up energy during throws.

You also see that Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing problems are at least partly attributable to a forebear’s performance anxiety, though you must admit that if the forebear’s performance anxiety was truly debilitating, he couldn’t have been a forebear.

Critical discoveries

With Rotten Tomatoes Glass, produced by the online film-review aggregator, you see that while 32 percent of the audience actually likes Alex Rodriguez, only 12 percent of the critics rate him a likable ballplayer.

Now look closer to see the synopsis:

“Alex Rodriguez is a supremely talented but uniquely complicated ballplayer whose epic ego and extreme narcissism, combined with gargantuan supplies of peer envy and teen-level insecurity, have shifted his image from that of top 10 player in baseball history to that of a bizarre performance artist whose primary aim is not to win games or even to play well but, rather, to perpetuate in recursive fashion his performance-artist image, be it darkly villainous or just plain weird.”

Look even closer to see the synopsized reviews:

“Briefly amusing but ultimately disappointing, A-Rod provides the sort of cheap, rubber-necking thrills of a roadside fender-bender but otherwise leaves you unsatisfied, as if you should have focused on the other drivers or the bigger picture even as you ponder the remains of what might have been.”—Joe U. Blow, New York Daily Gadfly

“A-Rod is a winner!” – Joe I. Blow, Manhattan Sycophant

Roughing up the South, Pa

Go to any MLB stadium, slip on your Gawker Glass and take a look at the field. What do you see? Well, if you see Brian McCann, Chris Davis, David Robertson, Justin Smoak, Daniel Murphy, Travis Wood, Matt Holliday, Buster Posey or any other player who hails from the biscuit side of the Mason-Dixon, you see a mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, gun-toting, minority-hating, gravy-slurping, puppy-killing, gay-bashing, wife-beating, cousin-humping, Bible-quoting (yet somehow illiterate) imbecile who beneath his uniform is wearing bib overalls festooned with David Duke campaign patches and splattered with Twinkie frosting and immigrant blood.

If you see Chris Capuano, Alex Cobb, Paul Konerko, Tim Collins, Brett Oberholtzer, Mike Trout, Chris Denorfia, Todd Frazier or any other player from the bagel side of the Mason-Dixon, you see a kind and generous Rhodes Scholar who, in his time away from the American Pastime, rescues three-legged kittens from trailer fires started by Mississippi meth addicts, tutors Chinese-Mexican Benetton models in the Queen’s English and adopts African orphans (though not in that fake Madonna way, eeewww) and rears them on established principles of tolerance, acceptance and South-bashing.

Carted off, no, onto the field

Don your Amazon.com Glass, have a seat at Dodger Stadium and what you see is a convenient shopping cart with ample room for additional purchases, be they impulse buys like Brian Wilson or more-thoughtful purchases like one sixth of the Boston Red Sox roster. You also see an offer for $50 off instantly on any purchase of a Cuban first baseman or Japanese pitcher.

Trivial pursuit

While wearing Mental Floss Glass (produced by trivia site Mental Floss) at Wrigley Field, you gaze at the scoreboard and see that Sam Snead actually hit the thing with a golf ball during an Opening Day demonstration in 1951, but that in the same year, first baseman Chuck Connors never came close to hitting it. (Given that he hit only two homers in his 67-game MLB career, it’s not surprising that Connors would later become The Rifleman and not Batman—a fact you can learn from Mental Floss Glass.)

Glance at home plate and see that Babe Ruth made his famous Called Shot there, even if, yeah, OK, it wasn’t actually a Called Shot, and that Dave Kingman really was a stone-cold jerk, a finding so thoroughly ratified by consensus opinion that it somehow qualifies as trivia.

Finally, look at Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113 and see the least trivial yet best-documented Cubs facts of all: a century-plus of despair, the perpetuation of a lovable-loser mythos and a popular trend in 2003 Halloween costuming—the glasses, headset, green turtleneck and Cubs cap, together a wearable effigy of the Windy City fall guy, Steve Bartman.

Swing and a myth

Don your Snopes Glass, developed by myth-busting website Snopes.com, and take a look around. At Wrigley you see that the Sultan of Swat was probably gesturing at the Cubs dugout rather than making a prophetic gesticulation just prior to the Called Shot, and that Steve Bartman was less the cause of the Cubs’ NLCS collapse than poor pitching and terrible defense.

At Fenway you see that Carlton Fisk’s iconic homer didn’t win the World Series or even the game for the Red Sox but merely tied the game in a series they’d go on to lose, and that Bill Buckner’s legendary error didn’t lose the Series for Boston but merely forced an ultimately losing Game 7.

And at Dodger Stadium you see that Leslie Nielsen, having ceded terpsichorean duties to a qualified dance double, performed neither his own moonwalk nor his own splits during the fabled strike three call, even if he had sung his own rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner in the guise of Enrico Pallazzo.

Uniformly different

Now that you’re wearing omg! Glass, you can see who wears his uniform best. First, it’s clear that since the Rockies removed the pinstripes from their road uniforms, Michael Cuddyer has lost that helpful slimming illusion and is thus a poor candidate for skinny jeans and an unlikely candidate for Shia Labeouf’s entourage.

But let’s not forget that Tulo’s head has looked even smaller ever since he shaved his mullet, and that his oversized hat now makes him look like an overmatched Little Leaguer who plays right field in the last half inning.

That said, the gray does bring out the smoldering intensity in the shortstop’s eyes, while the purple does supply a soothing contrast with the outfielder’s disarmingly bright smile. So you tell us: Which player wears it best?

Face-first slide

Now that you’re wearing Bleacher Report Glass, just sit back and get ready to watch some baseball—but not before laboring through a 50-part, ad-laden slide show designed specifically for your enjoyment and nothing else.

The 20/20 Club

Dashing, stylish and handsome—now that you’ve donned The Hardball Times Glass, these are all apt descriptions of the “you” you present to the world. More important than how you look, however, is how and what you see. What you see is baseball, and how you see it is with an understanding, for example, that the glove yank is an after-effect of elite torso rotational movements, that matching a lineup to the handedness of the opposing starter is advantageous, and that the Braves had a good reason to name a Turner Field seating section Men Without Hatlanta.

It also bears repeating that you look dashing, stylish and handsome.

Knowledge is (80-grade) power

With Wikipedia Glass, you see that U.S. Cellular Field is constructed in the Modern Retro Classic style, that Target Field accommodates 39,021 fans and that the distance to the center field fence at AT&T Park is 399 feet. You also see a factual reference to the sewage problems at O.co, even if you don’t see the consensus opinion that the stadium looks and smells like crap.

Lefty specialist

Huffington Post Glass is not pair of spectacles, per se, but rather a monocle worn only over the left eye. With it you see an in-depth analysis, produced by a 10th-grader from Orange County, of Mike Trout’s likes, dislikes and favorite color (red). And in addition to a sitcom star’s scathing indictment of the Dodgers’ incipient hegemony as it relates to the accepted hegemony of his favorite Bronx-based team, you get savory pregame recipes from Jamie Lee Curtis.

Power to right

By contrast, Fox News Glass is a monocle worn only over the right eye and often paired with an NRA cap, a Signature Polo Shirt, a Tea Party sweater, a Creation Museum tank top and/or a bowtie made entirely of Grover Norquist’s 1040 forms. With it you see The War on Christmas even during the Midsummer Classic, and that a cool August game in St. Louis is ample proof that global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the same shadowy figures who advocate for twerking instead of traditional values like male privilege.

Celebrity sightings

You’re wearing TMZ Glass, produced by celebrity-gossip site TMZ, and seated at Yankee Stadium. What do you see? If staring at the shortstop, you see a sort of ghosts-of-girlfriends-past montage, with each phantasmic lover walking away with a beautiful gift basket and a Jeter-autographed baseball.

If staring at the hot corner, you see the footprints, and maybe the handprints and knee prints, of Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Madonna, even as A-Rod glares green-eyed at the teammate-slash-rival to his left. Next, gaze at the executive suites to see the GM engaged in explicit pillow talk with his totally sane and not-at-all-crazy mistress, mostly about how Jeter manages to do it night after night without the use of performance enhancers.

Beware the Philistine Phanatic

Go to any stadium, put on Yahoo! Glass and take a look around. What do you see? You see pinko commie libtards ruining the country. You see gun-toting Repugs ruining the country. You see tree-hugging feminazis polluting the culture. You see neocon fascists polluting the culture. You see limousine liberals destroying society. You see Bible-thumping theocrats destroying society. What you don’t see, one suspects, is the beauty of the ballgame.

Print Friendly
 Share on Facebook3Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone
« Previous: Alternate baseball, chapter six
Next: The best rookies of the 1910s »

Comments

  1. Azure Texan said...

    @Gyre

    Just be sure you don’t wear FlanGraphs Glass, as it is difficult to see the game through a pair of delicious pastries—especially pastries that include links to explanations of Sweets Above Replacement.

  2. Gyre said...

    Ah, so many of them fit so well.  Nice work.

    Now if I could only fill out a Fangraphs glass, need some yawning about various stats on the side, some infighting amongst the posters, a gif-movie about the players swing/pitch that looks cool once, and ….

  3. Philip said...

    ‘‘At Fenway you see that Carlton Fisk’s iconic homer didn’t win the World Series or even the game for the Red Sox but merely tied the game…’‘

    ?

  4. Azure Texan said...

    @ Phillip

    Egad. Methinks that in the midst of that sentence, I must have lost my mind. Either that, or I got distracted by phone calls from the World Economic Forum and Scarlett Johansson. They’re both so hard to please.

    In any case, you’re right to make a declaration of “uh, that ain’t right” with nothing but a question mark. History confirms what even my own memory supplies, that Fisk’s homer won the game and tied a series that the Sox would go on to lose.

    Thanks for alerting me to the error. Trust me when I say, however, that I am flawless in all other aspects of my life.

  5. Azure Texan said...

    @ #### you

    OK, let me see if I can follow your logic, or what apparently constitutes logic in your zip code: I wrote 19 entries in this piece, each intended to be at least mildly humorous. Two centered on Yankees players, and a third referenced the Yankees. And from that you infer a Yankee – sorry, yankee – hatred?

    Trust me: If I were to declare a Yankee hatred, I would do so in much stronger terms than those you’ve so elegantly referenced.

    Look, dude. The Yankees are the Yankees. If you want them to get less ink, move them to Kansas City. Until then, take that persecution complex of yours and return it to the moody teenager from whom you took it.

    Happy New Year. May it hold more humor than the last one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>