Wednesday, December 17, 2008

St. Louis Jubilant

A party of nine young gentlemen, hailing from nowhere in particular, and distinguished from the rest of the world by wearing white stockings, and a party of nine other young gentlemen, hailing from nowhere in particular, and distinguished from the rest of the world by wearing brown stockings, have met in the City of St. Louis and disputed for the honors of a base-ball field, with the result that the white-hosed young gentlemen were whipped in every inning and the brown-hosed young gentlemen scored 10 runs to their opponents 0. Upon the strength of this discomfiture, the City of St. Louis has risen to its feet in a spirit of exultation, and is rending the air with ecstatic exclamations, and making itself ridiculous generally. These brown-legged young gentlemen having defeated the white-legged ones, we are now prepared to see St. Louis make a new claim for the location of the Mint in that city, prepare new arguments in favor of locating the National Capital there, and immediately issue a new directory with 200,000 additional names in it. The issue of this important brown-legged event will undoubtedly have a cheerful influence upon the stagnant condition of the trade and commerce of that city, and infuse new life into its torpid channels. We presume every citizen of St. Louis breathes more freely and feels more erect, now that nine men with white stockings, hailing from Chicago, have been beaten; that it really has one source of honest exultation; and that, for the first time, it can rejoice in getting ahead of Chicago. We have no desire to depreciate the great physical and moral victory which St. Louis has gained. We acknowledge it in its length and breadth. If necessary, we are prepared to feel mortified, to call these white-legged young gentlemen all sorts of harsh names, and even to invite the brown-legged gentlemen to Chicago and give them an ovation, calling out the Fire Department, the school-children, and the brass bands to assist.

...St. Louis can keep on howling with exultation, and should do so. She may never have another chance. Let her make the most of it. If so slight a thing as a base-ball game can make her happy, it would be cruel to interfere with it or in any way belittle the event.
-Chicago Daily Tribune, May 8, 1875

Wow. This article made me think of four things:

  • the word "condescending"
  • the word "defensive"
  • every whinny Cub fan I've ever met
  • the national media and their treatment of Sarah Palin

You really just want to smack somebody who would write something like this. Or at the very least help them raise money so that they can finally get that operation to remove the stick from their ass.


Richard Hershberger said...

This is a fairly spectacular piece of hypocrisy. It could have worked as a criticism of the use of non-local talent in baseball. That had been a legitimate topic, though it was pretty much settled by 1875. But you can't make that criticism only when your team loses. The Tribune was the de facto house organ for the White Stockings. For it to suddenly notice that the White Stockings players weren't necessarily from Chicago, so the loss didn't really mean anything, is pretty blatantly silly.

Two additional notes:

(1) A whinny is a noise a horse makes. While this sort of works for describing Cubs fans, I think you meant "whiney".

(2) The blog is seriously not improved by bringing modern politics into the discussion. Whether in agreement or disagreement with you, the reader stops thinking about 19th century baseball for a moment and instead thinks about 21st century politics. At best this is a distraction. At worst it is an invitation to discussion: if you write about modern politics, clearly modern politics is on topic. Is that what you really want? I know it isn't what I want. I have countless places on the web to talk politics. 19th century baseball? Not so many.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

What struck me when I read this piece was the sense of smug superiority that the author had. He was obviously not a baseball fan and he didn't seem to care much for the game, the players, or the fans. He comes across as someone who thinks he's better than the subject he's writing about.

And that's where the reference to Gov. Palin comes in. It was my sense during the election that there were many in the media who felt that they were better than this hick from Alaska who went to a state school and ate moose and couldn't articulate irrelevant foreign policy doctrines. This came from both the left and the right and was amazing to watch (it's always nice to see bipartisanship in action). Regardless of whether they were right or wrong in their opinion of her, the coverage of her dripped with condescension.

That was my honest reaction to the piece and that's what I wrote. I know my own limitations as a writer (atrocious spelling, poor grammar, awkward usage, etc) and a researcher but one thing that you get from me is honesty. I just write what I have to say and move on to the next post. I'm not here to bs anybody or use the blog as a bully pulpit but I'm also not one to rein in my own personality. What you see is what you get with me. Anything else would take too much time and effort and would end up being phony.

I certainly understand the point you're trying to make and you don't have to worry about this blog turning into Hot Air, Ace of Spades, American Thinker, or Gates of Vienna. That's not what I'm interested in doing. Although when my tone gets a bit snarky that's definitely Ace's and Allah Pundit's influence.

Interestingly, I think the entire tone of this post is completely different than just about anything else I've written on the blog. I've been working on an unrelated blog project where the tone was argumentative, coarse, and (as it went on) more and more vulgar. The entire thing was actually meant to be funny but I wasn't happy with it and it's on the shelf for now. I think that some of that seeped into this post.

Live and learn.