Commentary

A.C. Snow: Readers have their say on baseball

May 4, 2013 

Whoever said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” never wrote a column putting down baseball as the national pastime.

In my defense, I never said I despised the game. I just find the pace boring.

Most women respondents agreed. Nary a man did. Most of the responses were at least courteous.

Scott Carter, manager of marketing for the Durham Bulls, invited my wife and me to attend a game as his guests. My wife immediately declined. She’d warmed too many hard benches while dating a baseball player in high school. I promised him instead that I’d re-watch that great movie, “Bull Durham.”

Mrs. Steva Bledsoe of Elkin described her experience at a San Diego Padres game while on a California vacation.

“We sat in front of a father who was introducing his five-year-old to the game, explaining every pitch.

“‘Now, Son, that was a slider. Now, Son, that was a curve ball. Son, that one was low and outside.’

“Also, after every pitch, he’d ask, ‘Now, Son, what was the speed on that pitch?’ The boy would read the answer from the scoreboard.

“I kept wanting to turn around and say, ‘Will you please hush? What the boy wants is some action!’” she said.

Ken Thorn of Carrboro said another sport is even worse. “If you want to see slow, watch football,” he wrote.

“The center snaps the ball. The quarterback either drops back and passes, or hands off to a running back. A typical play takes six seconds. Then about half a minute is spent unpiling and walking back to the huddle. Once huddled, the 30-seconds play clock starts. The quarterback studies the sideline for a play, gives it to the team. They break huddle and line up. The quarterback checks the defense and often calls a different play.

“Finally, the ball is snapped for another six seconds of actual action. Six seconds (of) action out of about each minute results in a 10 percent action to 90 percent no action ratio.

“Throw in time to move chains, enforce penalties, review plays and TV time-outs and you’ll wish you were at a baseball game.”

Meanwhile, Ben LaVange of Chapel Hill takes a practical approach: “Baseball is like church; many attend, but few understand.”

Motorized religion

When I didn’t instantly move on after the stoplight changed, the impatient guy behind me honked his horn lightly. I refrained from giving him the customary gesture.

Instead, I remembered what my late friend and former minister, Dr. Albert Edwards, once said: “The two hardest places to practice Christianity are on the highway and at home. If drivers practiced Christian ethics, more lives would be saved than are saved by seat belts.”

Public relations

My daughter and I rode over to Chapel Hill to see our guy, N&O cartoonist Dwane Powell, inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame.

Chancellor Holden Thorp, who in the past couple of years has faced a tsunami of scandals at Carolina, introduced one of the recipients, who heads a public relations firm.

The chancellor quipped, “It certainly seems ironic that I am introducing someone receiving a public relations award.” The audience erupted with laughter.

Despite criticism of some of his decisions, as he leaves for an administrative job at Washington University in St. Louis, he remains one of the university’s most personable and popular chancellors.

But I do take issue with his suggestion that more decisions on athletics should be shifted from college administrators to athletic directors.

That’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

Misprints

Speaking of public relations, some years ago a friend and co-worker earned a master’s degree in public affairs from N.C. State University.

On graduation day, she perused the list of degree recipients on the program. To her dismay, the realized she was receiving an M.A. in pubic affairs.

That ranks up there with my all-time favorite typo. In an N&O Under the Dome item, it was noted that, “Gov. Luther Hodges is in Rex Hospital suffering from a hernia sustained while lifting a widow at the Governor’s Mansion.”

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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