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.

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