Who Will Win the Base-Ball Matches?Commentary • ISSUE 32•12 • Oct 21, 1997 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) My nurse informs me that it is now the autumn-time, which to every red-blooded American boy means the season in which the professional base-ball sporting clubs vie for a berth in the great Championship Series of the World. I predict that the Knickerbockers will give those accursed Red Stockings a sound thrashing. Of course, we can't count out the great Pie Traynor and his Philadelphia Peglegs. Nothing is more American than the base-ball matches! I love the excited roar of the teeming crowd, the taste of the braunschweiger sandwiches, and the scent of the wooden bleachers. When I see a group of immigrant boys playing a crude match of rounders in the streets of the village, I feel pride for the assimilating spirit of the sport. I have the constabulary arrest them for vagrancy, but I am proud nonetheless. Sadly, however, the great base-ball is being threatened by a new amusement called hoop-the-ball. My old nurse used to enjoy listening to the matches upon the small wireless she tried to secret from me in her vast skirts. This game involves the placement of a large, inflated boar-skin sphere into a peach basket with the bottom cut out of it, which is suspended from a barn roof. Two teams of roughs, clothed in only their union-suits, attempt to wrest the boar-skin from each other's possession. It is no wonder that hoop-the-ball, with its primitive objective, appeals to the criminal element. Base-ball consists of complex rules which require a strong intellectual and moral underpinning. But the confusing, unruly way in which the hoop-the-ball teams mill about the playing field only underscores the sport's moral and cerebral weakness. What's more, the hoop-the-ball teams seem more interested in selling their crude footwear to the public than in engaging in their lowly recreation. If our base-ball players were to follow such an example, they might end up demanding to have their own personal galvanized steel buckets for tobacco-spitting, and perhaps even their names and likenesses printed on small cardboard lithographs which accompany samples of chewing gum. Don't say you weren't warned, base-ball owners!