Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Striking A Nerve

Striking A Nerve
by Rob Cottignies

I find baseball dreadful. Though they're not as prominent in my life, I find the Ku Klux Klan even more dreadful.

Check this out:

At professional baseball games, it's a common practice to hang a banner with a K on it for every strikeout the home pitcher and/or team gets. Back in the 1800s, some limey Brit developed a system for scoring baseball games. He is responsible for the scores by inning as well as the Runs Hits Errors part after it. My guess is he devised this structure over the course of a few games because he was so fucking bored. He abbreviated a sacrifice play with an S and, because apparently those used to be more common than strikeouts, abbreviated those with a K because that's another letter in the word.

So something like this happens: After strikeout #1, whoever's in charge of the banners displays a big K. After #2, another K is added next to it. But after #3 is where things get dicey. If the same pattern repeats, it would read KKK, which is the usual initialism for the Ku Klux Klan- a group of unsavory white folks with a particular distaste for anyone who is not white and whatever other criteria. They suck. They've murdered people, burned things, and caused general unpleasantry. People surely don’t want to promote that group, especially in public and if they don't believe in their cause. So the third strikeout's K is frequently reversed. This has often been credited to the direction of the K indicating whether the strikeout was completed by a missed swing or the batter just looking or some other boring shit. I call immediate shenanigans. Was the third strikeout which followed two of the forward-K direction the opposite every single time in the entirely-too-long history of baseball?

No. I know this not as a fact but confident that statistics are on my side.

Offended Guy: 'Hey, that means Ku Klux Klan.'
Banner Guy: 'No, it means the pitcher threw three strikeouts.'
Offended Guy: 'Oh, alright.'

And that would be it! Nothing at any baseball park I've seen even comes close to hinting at white supremacy. The league and stands are filled with people of all sorts of colors from all sorts of places. The banner guy is not wearing a white robe with a stupid pointy white hood.

Unless he is. Then the whole thing is racist.

I saw haircut store (a what?) in Tennessee which was named Kim's Klassy Kuts. Again, in Tennessee. Not far from Lynchburg. That was quite likely racism disguised as something cutely vomit-inducing.

To end with an interesting bit of history, there was once a baseball game between an all-black team and the Klan. It happened in Kansas in 1925 because the Monrovians announced an open invitation for anyone who wanted to play them. Guess who accepted. You don't have to guess because I already told you. Apparently the game was a peaceful money-making success which ended with the Monrovians winning 10-8. Check out the entire article.

It would be quite fascinating to know which direction the strikeout Ks faced during that game.

Friday, July 21, 2017

In The End, Blow Up The Outside World

In The End, Blow Up The Outside World
by Rob Cottignies

I hate hypothetical situations, but here's one anyway:

Suppose I find out that I'm going to die tomorrow. This source is 100% positive and is able to convince me of that.

It's 5:00pm. I make some phone calls, tie up loose ends, check Facebook, etc. Then I decide that I will not let Death take me but I will go to him. So at 10:00pm, after eating an entire pizza, I drink some beers that have been in my fridge for years waiting for the perfect time. I wouldn't exactly call this perfect, but I drink (in a fairly particular order) 2016 Multifarious by Jester King, 2014 Westvleteren 12, 2014 Blasphemy by Weyerbacher, then finish with 2013 Black Ops by Brooklyn.

I'm drunk. Really drunk. And full. Really full.

It's 11:30pm and I run out my front door screaming. I'm wearing a Viking helmet and no pants. I'm chugging one last beer (Habanero Sculpin by Ballast Point- gotta go out with a bang) when my neighbors come over. They're so nosy. Like a drunk pantless Viking screaming obscenities near midnight warrants attention.

I pass out. Somewhere in my mind, I know I'll never wake up.

An ambulance comes and takes me to a hospital. I don't know which one. Like it matters. The doctors do all they can but at 2:00am I'm declared dead from alcohol poisoning. I did it. I beat Death to the punch.


The prophecy was correct. I died tomorrow. But what killed me started today and wouldn't have begun if I hadn't heard the prophecy. So was it really correct? If I didn't drink myself to death, would another doom have been waiting for me?

It all comes down to fate:

For those who believe in fate, I was supposed to hear this prediction then get really drunk off of really awesome beer. For those who don't believe, something else was definitely going to happen at some point tomorrow.

What's the point of all this? I don't know. But I say you should have fun while you can because having fun is great and not having fun is stupid.

Before anyone gets all nervous or whatever, there's nothing to worry about. I'm fine and shall continue to be so until something decides I shouldn't be anymore.

Some of you might say, 'I know those excellent beers are strong, but would they be enough to kill you?' Maybe, but the shots of Evan Williams bourbon during the whole escapade probably sealed the deal. And why didn't I throw up? Because I'm tough, that's why.

(This piece is oddly dedicated to my memories of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.)