Though I’m not sure which is the bigger surprise, that “60 Minutes”‘s Andy Rooney is still alive or that the following column wasn’t written for The Onion, who amongst us wasn’t thrilled to learn that Rooney, “never liked baseball as a kid. My friends said I threw like a girl and that’s enough to put any young man off a game”?
My disinterest in baseball as a kid has lasted all my life. I’m still not interested in the game. I don’t watch it on television or follow it in the newspaper. I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me. They’re apparently very good but they haven’t caught my interest. I also think baseball needs some rules changes, too. For example, the player who starts the game as pitcher should have to play all nine innings without a substitution. A pitcher hardly ever plays more than a few innings and then the manager replaces him with someone who isn’t as good. I think baseball managers dominate the games more than the players do and more than coaches do in other sports.
There are 30 major league baseball teams, but sometimes it seems as though the New York Yankees are the only team that ever wins the World Series. There have been 102 World Series since 1903. The Yankees have been in 39 of those and they’ve won 26. Five teams have never won a World Series. What in the world keeps baseball fans in those cities coming to games?
The figures they keep giving us on broadcasts of baseball games are batting statistics, the amount being paid the players, the number of fans in the stands. There are other statistics I’d like to hear more often. When a player comes up to bat, they can tell me what his batting average is but I’d also like to know how many times he’s struck out. Tell me how many different teams he’s played with. Which player on either team has made the most errors? What’s the average IQ of a baseball team compared with the IQ of a professional football team?