Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Aloha, everybody,

This Conlon Collection specimen is an absolute cardboard home run.

 It fires on a few different levels, so let's begin with the politically incorrect nickname - "Chief".  On one hand, it's an insensitive and disrespectful label, dropped onto a Native American by early 20th-century racism. 

On the other hand, it's the type of nickname that we tend to accept and not think twice about because of "baseball nostalgia" and a misplaced "cool" factor we might imagine goes along with being an old-time ballplayer with a nickname.

Let's move on to the photo, which magnificently captures a baseball day during the early 1900's. 

We get a wonderful view of Meyers' billowy-sleeved uniform, mini-baseball cap and early catcher's gear; the shin guards and mask wonderfully displayed. 

Off in the background is a sprinkling of spectators, almost everyone dressed in matching black hats and suits. Note the wooden equipment wagon over by the infield wall. Straight outta Dances With Wolves! 
I flipped the card over and discovered Myers hails from Riverside, California, a desert community about an hour's drive to my east. 

Finally, this beautiful card closes with Meyers' words on the back. He played the game over 100 years ago, and yet, the baseball gripe he lays out is still relevant and argued over in the game today. 

The good news is MLB isn't deaf, and it took a baby step in addressing his century-old concern just last season. 

If you are reading ATBATT on a laptop today, you can probably see the text on the card, and I encourage you to read what Meyers had to say. 

However, if you're using a phone or otherwise can't or don't want to read the cardback, I'll transcribe the important part for you below the card...

"Nowadays, the pitcher wastes so much time out there it's ridiculous - fixing his cap...pulling up his pants...rubbing his chin...wiping his brow...pulling his nose...scratching the ground with his feet. 

And after he does all that he looks all around at the outfield, and then he staaaaaaaares in at the catcher giving the sign. Why, he's afraid to throw the darned ball! 

And with this modern jackrabbit ball, I don't know as I blame him. 

They waste an hour or so every day that way. We always played a game in less than two hours. Never longer."  

I hear ya, Meyers. Aloha! 


  1. For about the first two months the umpires were doing a pretty good job of keeping the flow of the game going last year. Hopefully they can continue to work on the pace. Cheif Meyers is a visionary.

    1. I don't mind speeding up all the rituals, but I wanna spit chaw on those ridiculous 30-second clocks they put up in the stadiums.