American Exceptionalism? I Take Exception To That.
October 21, 2014

One public definition of American Exceptionalism reads, “American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nation states.”

One could engage in a prolix discussion of this, that, and the other that prove or disprove that America is exceptional, and the result would be a lot of wasted breath on both sides.

But perhaps a simpler path is available. Baseball.

Is America exceptional because its professional baseball league runs a contest every year to determine the best pro team in American baseball and calls it ‘The World Series’? While it barely qualifies as a series worth a capital S, it does not involve baseball teams from any other country (alright, Canadian teams in MLB are eligible, but not as Canada). What the league calls a ‘World’ series is really nothing more than a local, United States activity.

For a real World Series one might want to consider the four-year international marathon of soccer, the World Cup, involving scores of nations.

Or perhaps the annual UEFA Championships of European pro soccer. Or the international Rugby championship. Or Cricket.

Now those could righteously be called World Series.

So perhaps we might consider America exceptional in that it pretends – oh, let’s just call it a lie – that it is a world class player playing in a worldwide baseball tournament.

It is not surprising that an American sport overbills itself this way, particularly baseball. After all, the lies and hypocrisy start out in baseball’s childhood game, the Little League. (Oh, how dare I sully that bastion of childhood and innocence! Perhaps because my idea of childhood does not involve angry, screaming parents and coaches.)

In any event, the Little League also runs a ‘World Series’ every year, down in Pennsylvania somewhere, I believe. Now it is true that the LLWS does involve teams from several countries, and that there is a playoff to determine the best teams for the final one-game ‘series’.

Actually, there are two playoff round-robins. In one, the non-US teams play each other to determine a contender. In the other, only US teams play to determine a contender.

Did you catch the whiff of American exceptionalism there? Did you notice that in the Little League World Series, there will always be a US team playing a foreign team. In effect, the LLWS is rigged.

In a fair contest, only one US team would be involved, and it would play in the round-robin with the foreign teams to determine the two best teams for the final. The US would thus not be guaranteed a spot in the final, and the LLWS could then call itself a real World Series.

Until that happens, perhaps it’s best to just consider the winner of the foreign playoffs the World Champion, who deign to play a United States team in a demonstration game that the Little League powers-that-be insist, contrary to fact and fair play, is a championship game.

As it is below, in the LLWS, so it is above, in Major League Baseball.

American Exceptionalism. A lie, a hypocrisy, an ego trip of gigantic proportion unrelated to reality.

That said, my bet in the World Series this year is on… umm… wait, who’s playing tonight?

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Little League World Series Is Rigged
August 11, 2007

Hypocrisy, thy name is Baseball. And thy handmaiden is the United States.

Since I was a small, intellectually obnoxious child I have questioned why the World Series of professional baseball had nothing to do with the world. A bunch of American teams, joined by a couple of Canadian foot stools, play some games in increasingly cold weather, and the winner crows “We’re the world champions” despite having played no one from outside the United States.

Of course nobody listens to that rant. They’d rather live the delusion.

And visit it on their kids.

The Little League World Series plays out in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Sixteen teams take part, eight from the United States, eight from eight other regions, culled from regional competitions. Note that one of those regions, the Trans-Atlantic, consists primarily of Americans – armed forces children and such.

So, pretty much nine American teams, and seven teams from the rest of the world meet in Pennsylvania. There the eight U.S. teams play each other to determine a U.S. champion, and the eight international teams play to determine an international champion.

See where I’m going with this?

The U.S. is guaranteed a spot in the final of the LLWS without ever having had to play a foreign team. The U.S. Champion plays the International Champion in the finals.

In a genuine World Series, the U.S. would be just one team in an international mix and would have to play a round robin, either via pools or directly, and could be eliminated well before the final.

Kind of, sort of, just like the Soccer World Cup, which is a real world competition, not like the phony baseball World Series the pros and the Little League kids play.

The real Little League World Series is played in the International League round robin.

The United States, as usual, chooses to rig the game and refuses to play by fair rules. Thus, the LLWS is a complete sham.

Sorry, kids. Your adults have handed you a lie. They might just as well have fed you steroids and patted you on the back for getting a strong start towards becoming All-American hypocrites.  

It’s not the kids’ fault, of course. The adults rig the rules. But I wonder if the kids have ever considered those rules and their implications.

It would make my heart glad to see Little Leaguers go on strike for fair play.

Yowsah!

Women’s College World Series! Real Baseball…
June 4, 2007

I watched several games of the Women’s College World Series over the weekend. They’re playing softball. Seventy mile an hour softball. You wouldn’t want to get hit with one of those pitches.

It was a hell of a lot more fun to watch than the macho, commercial laden crap that’s put out by Major League Baseball. It hearkens back to the days when baseball was more of an intimate sport, when it mattered who the players were because they weren’t different from the rest of us, when stadiums were small enough that everybody could see the game.

The games had excitement, emotion, skill, and if it can be said, personality. We didn’t have to hear about which player was cheating on his wife, or who was sulkily holding out for more millions, or any of the rest of the crap in the big leagues.

This was girls playing baseball, damned good baseball. It was fun and exciting. And the players are a hell of a lot better looking than than the guys in the big leagues.

The finals start tonight, Tennessee against Arizona. I’m going with the Arizona girls… women. Tough bunch. I was kinda rooting for Northwestern because their catcher is just the cutest thing. Wouldn’t want to get in fight with her though.

C’mon Guys, Where’s UEFA News?
May 23, 2007

The entire sports section of today’s Globe was devoted to studiously ignoring today’s final of the UEFA Cup in Greece.

What are these guys at the Globe’s sports desk? A bunch of backwoods hicks who can’t see past the baseballs stuck on the end of their noses?

Baseball? Boring. Dishonest. Cowardly. I mean, hell, how legitimate is a sport that holds a ‘World Series’ but doesn’t play anyone outside its own borders (aside from a couple of weak sisters from Canada)? And that condemns steroid use but acts like records achieved by steroid users are legitimate? But really, the game is simply boring. It just proves that American sports have only one goal – to deliver an audience to advertisers.

Championship soccer? Exciting. Nuts to the advertisers.

Globe sports desk? Still thinks hockey is relevant.