Professional baseball – in order for any of it to really make sense – must be looked at as strictly entertainment. We’re not saving the rainforest one home run at a time, nor are we helping fight illiteracy (I hope I spelled that right) with the designated hitter rule. It’s just fun to watch. The sooner we remember that the better we’ll all be – and if you’re not sold on this idea, allow me to demonstrate.
During the regular season, each team is allowed a roster of 25 players. Most teams have eleven or twelve pitchers of whom four or five are starters. The balance of the pitching staff sits in the bullpen with the number-one priority of “keeping warm”. Most often, this is accomplished by playing catch, having sunflower-seed-spitting contests, and finding other ways to amuse themselves and possibly the spectators within their immediate vicinity. If the bullpen is really staying on their toes, their antics will attract the notice of the camera crew and some part of their hilarious hijinks and merry mayhem will appear on Sports Center that night. Failing that, a couple of the guys might be needed to come into the game to help a failing pitcher.
Your remaining thirteen or fourteen players are scattered among the fielding positions, and most often those eight spots go to a fixed list of guys leaving five or six team members – known as Utility Players – to ride the pine at a MINIMUM of $380,000/year. In other words, they get paid AT LEAST $2,345.67/game to sit in premium seats (no having to fight over armrests) and watch a ballgame. (I would be willing to bet that if they wanted garlic fries they wouldn’t have to wait in line behind the guy who’s trying to decide if he’s hungry for a bratwurst or a Polish sausage.)
This is not reality, folks. I started my post-college working life at an insurance company as an adjuster. In all the time I was at that company, I never walked by a conference room filled with Utility Adjusters – all fully paid and suited up – just waiting for a co-worker to be brought down by a crippling case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and step in to complete the claims process. If I chose to spit sunflower seeds all over the floor of my work area, that was surprisingly frowned upon. And where were the camera crews when we found a way to lock Jim Stenowski in the women’s bathroom for two hours?
Also, how many workplaces do you know that have a guy in a fuzzy suit walking around rubbing the heads of bald men and dancing the funky chicken – I mean besides the weird dude in accounting who drinks too much at the Christmas party. (On a side note: How does one go about getting a mascot job? What types of things do you put on your resume? “I’m not averse to wearing oversized Papier-mâché caricatures on my head; nor do I object to the feel of felt-like material next to my skin.”)
Lastly, outside of “Paris Hilton Night” at a cross-dressers’ bar, where else do you see grown men wearing spiked heels and black eyeliner? That’s entertainment.