THE OLD BALL GAME
JOEY, YOU KNOW WHEN I WAS A KID BASEBALL wasnt like it is today, said Gramps to his 15 year old grandson. The three-dimensional presentation of the game was being played out on their living room floor, and had the same perspective for them as if they were in the stadium themselves.
Yeah, replied Joey. You had to watch it on that little 2-D TV screen, didnt you? The crowd roared as the fifth batter in the line up led-off the inning with a walk.
TV wasnt what I was referring to boy, Gramps said with a shake of his head. TV was pretty primitive in those days to be sure, but the game was a whole lot better!
The smell of popcorn and hot dogs was all around them as the runner took a short lead off first. Some fan was yelling support for the home team and a baby could be heard off in the distance.
Oh, sure it was Gramps! laughed Joey. Everything was better in the good old days. We all know that!
The pitcher didnt bother making a throw over to first and concentrated on the next batter. The bottom half of the order never stole a base and he couldnt afford another walk.
Ha, ha, laughed Gramps without any mirth. Back then there were 9 men on a team. All 9 of them could play ball, and most of them could hit too!
Even the girls? asked Joey in disbelief. The next batter took a called fourth strike. Only one more and the pitcher would be done with this batter.
There were no girls on the team then, that is what I am trying to tell you Joey, said Gramps. They had 9 men on the team and no women.
Why that is pure sexism Gramps! Everybody knows you got to have women on the team, its the law! Joey couldnt believe what he was hearing. The courts had ruled before he was born that all sports teams had to have a compliment of female players that was at least equal in relative size to the percentage of females in the population. That meant, since there were slightly more women than men in America, the baseball teams had to have five women on the field at all times. This was just common sense.
It wasnt the law back then! replied Gramps with enthusiasm. Back then you could get the best players you could afford to pay for to play on your team. Everybody played by the same rules too. Today, the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth batter were women. They were allowed 5 strikes before they were out, and 2 balls gave them a walk. Men were out after 3 strikes and it took 4 balls to walk them.
The batter took a swing at the next pitch and missed. No one seemed surprised, since the fifth through ninth batter nearly always made an out. There were rumors that the court was going to change the rules again and insist that only women could pitch to women to make the game more fair. They also were reviewing the practice of putting all the worst batters at the end of the lineup, since that was obviously a sexist approach.
Wow Gramps, Joey said shaking his head. Things were sure sexist when you were a kid werent they?
Yes, I guess they were Joey. I guess they were. Gramps looked at the game in progress and got up. He hadnt really enjoyed a baseball game in years. Joey liked the home team and Gramps like to do things with him, but baseball just wasnt baseball anymore. As he went to get a soda pop from the kitchen, he wondered how things had ever come to be where they were now. Was sexism really such a bad thing?