Sunday, October 28, 2001

Baseball for Dummies?

At times like these it's best to stand aside and let the master of sports cynicism take the game ball.

. . . I picked up Friday's edition of the Arizona Republic and there it was, the granddaddy of all yahoo features: a primer on ''Baseball 101.''

I could tolerate a swimming pool beyond the outfield fence in right-center. I could get over the fact that the Diamondbacks have been in existence only four years and their fans haven't paid enough dues to deserve hosting a World Series. Five uniform combinations, all including purple? Knock yourselves out. Eating chimichangas between innings? Make my day. It was even OK (sort of) that they couldn't sell out some Division Series and League Championship Series games.

But not this. Not Baseball For Dummies. Any town that needs this feature in the local daily shouldn't be allowed to play host to the World Series and certainly doesn't deserve to win the thing. It was bad enough when the Florida Marlins won the Series in their fifth year of existence in 1997. As least the Miami Herald didn't feel obligated to explain the meaning of the term ''base hit'' (Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe).

Need one say more?

Is this just bitterness over the fact that the Diamondbacks are in and the Red Sox are not, again? Oh, yeah. Sure is. As Red Sox fans, we cling to what we have: History. Oh, boy, do we have history.