As the boys of summer look confusedly at the slushy drifts obscuring second base, it’s high time to recall the humble origins of our national pasttime, as documented firsthand by one Cyril P. Hooker, the 19th century wharfman many historians now assert to be the true father of modern baseball. From Hooker’s own journal, rescued from the wall of a Cleveland T.G.I.Fridays, he recalls his epiphany of gameplay — and perhaps reveals another invention for which we owe him thanks:
“Gregor and One Ear slouched across the field, braying and chortling in the misty stupor of the previous evening’s drink. Gregor had filled his hat what with handfuls of tall grass and proceeded to chase One Ear with a switch, striking him mercilessly on his ear pudding. One Ear, in turn, collected rocks and debris from the occasional bare patch of earth, and these he used what as projectiles to slow the pursuit of this his slobering [sic] assailant. Were two idiots at play, those, and it warmed my very heart.
I, for my part, avoided the melee at this safe distance, having recently violated the crypt of a man who were buried in freshly pressed trousers. I watched with amusement, tho, and surely began counting the effect of their tussle, what scoring the number of times Gregor agitated the ear pudding. One Ear must have scored the same, for soon his rock throwing increased in haste. It was all Gregor could do to bat away the relentless barrage of pipes, stones, and rodent bones! Enthused as I was by this new development, I began shouting to my beloved oran-utans so as to share in the revelry: “One strike! Two strikes! Three strikes!” And this, I found, increased the fervor still!
Late into the afternoon Gregor and One Ear scrapped, until finally the cruel grip of sobriety indeed suffocated them both. And I, along, bellowed scores and heaped accolades upon these giggling dolts, amused as I was at this game-o-fication of fooles [sic] horseplay, and with my humble aim to increase the engagement of these two besotted employees of the Devil’s workshop.”
So eat sh*t and die, Abner Doubleday.