The respected auteur best known for his acclaimed PBS Home Video series The Civil War and Baseball, as well as “The Ken Burns effect,” recently announced plans for a new docuseries charting the evolution of Quidditch from an airborne game played by the young wizards and witches in the beloved Harry Potter books, to an earthbound game played by America’s finest liberal arts undergraduates. “I feel like I barely scraped the surface of things in both Baseball and The Civil War,” said Burns in a statement issued earlier today on Deadline Hollywood. “The relatively short but rich history of American Quidditch will allow me to (fingers crossed) take a consummate look at Quidditch’s rapid ascent as one of the premiere dicking around games played by college students today.” Principle shooting is set begin at Middlebury College, at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. To date, the yet-to-be named project will feature the voice talents of Philip Bosco, Amy Madigan, Wallace Shawn, Bob Costas, Tilda Swinton, and James Earl Jones, with narration from Garrison Keillor.
Suns rise over the ballparks.
Lucky mitts are dusted off.
Pitchers and catchers report.
Familiar emotion-manipulating articles about the majesty of baseball begins.
Baseball spring training is here and the players are not the only ones getting a head start this year. Members of the mainstream media are frantically dusting off their old, nostalgic photos of baseball; many featuring silhouettes of legendary players leaning on bats, of an obscure team favorite laughing, a child’s first ballpark visit or, most popular, an unknown groundskeeper watering the field.
The start of the baseball season is an exciting time for those owning tear jerking photographs of the past. “This is definitely our busy season,” said old photographer Mort Charlock. “People don’t want expensively framed photos of an umpire ejecting Casey Stengel with the caption ‘heave ho, umpire!’ Nut now some old journalists who needs to write about baseball despite their being literally nothing to say will rehash an old article, find a familiar picture and maybe force in a tenuous connection with a memory he has of his father.”
More importantly, since this is the most popular time of the year for these photos, old-timey caption writers are working round the clock in their small, wooden shacks that has always been in the family, to write appropriate captions such as:
Doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game…
Here we are boys!
Of course there are always the mavericks of the group. Alaister McCullough frequently writes racy captions such as: “Let’s play hard fellows!”
But we can all agree: every journalist wrote an article about the beauty surrounding spring training fifteen years ago and has been subbing out team names in the same article ever since. Kind of like this one time my dad took me to my first ball game…
Find yourself frustrated by having to pay attention to three-and-a-half-hour bouts of staring, nodding, and spitting, every day from the middle Spring to the middle of Fall? There’s an app for that.
For a growing number of young people and working professionals, watching one full game of baseball, let alone a whole 162-game season, is a Kafka-esque task designed to drive an unsuspecting sports fan to madness. Ironically, it’s a Kafka, Chris Kafka, who hopes to put an end to it. Kafka, a 26-year-old web developer from Virginia but now living in New York City, was frustrated that his older colleagues and unemployed peers would frequently cycle back to America’s past Pastime as a topic of conversation. “They would talk incessantly about games and pennant outlooks and whoever the f*** is the hot young pitcher of this five minutes. Like I can stay up ’til two a.m. every night keeping up with that s***! So I decided to write an app that will alert you when anything worth anything happens in the world of baseball.”
Take this season; amazing how the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees managed to slip into the postseason around the collapsing Red Sox in a thrilling Wednesday night (Wednesday? Really?) of baseball, right? Kafka’s app would alert you Thursday morning of the pertinent scores and facts. It would also let you know that the Sox apparently suck now, and everyone hates them– invaluable information to anyone who was last compelled to care about baseball when everyone was remarking how awesome Boston was after winning their second World Series in 4 years. A week and change later, the app would inform you that both the Yankees and the plucky Rays had washed out of the playoffs, and it was safe to ignore baseball again until the World Series begins.
Kafka points out that most of the thousands of games played in a major league season are laughably meaningless, but when something notable does happen, he is expected by colleagues and friends to know everything about it. “Someone mentioned the [Kansas City] Royals once, and I thought they were making a Pulp Fiction reference,” he recounts, more annoyed than embarrassed. Kafka played his mistake off, but vowed it would never happen again. “Having this app is like bringing a porn-star-sized dildo to the dick-measuring contest” that is modern baseball fandom, he says. The young web-developer hopes the iPhone and iPad apps will be approved in time for Opening Day next season; a version for the Android platform is in the works.
–Rony Josaphat, who, by the way, genuinely loves soccer.