Sports

More Bones

I don’t know why I’m finding so many stories about old bones lately. (I’m not seeking them out, honestly! They keep popping up in my inbox and RSS feed.) The most recent reminder of mortality delivered to me through the Internet comes from the Austinist‘s sister site in San Francisco. The SFist unearths a 1902 San Francisco Chronicle story about some children in my native city using human bones to play baseball. A short excerpt:

Residents of the vicinity of Leavenworth and Broadway going home to dinner were treated to a choice assortment of cold shivers at the sight of the national game being played with the grisly loot from a tomb. Half a dozen boys were making long drives of the ball to center field with resounding thwacks from the long bones, the femur and fibula radius and ulna humerus. Between times two yellow skulls would be tossed to the batters, and the fun characteristic of the reverence of the North American youth, waxed warm until a policeman swooped down upon the players.  

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Chin Music

The Washington Post discusses a fascinating academic study showing that Southern baseball players are more likely than their Northern colleagues to throw at a batter after giving up a home run or when a teammate has been hit by a pitch in the previous inning. It’s attributed to the South’s “culture of honor,” the clannish ethos thought to have been brought to the South largely by the “Scotch-Irish” (Ulster Scots) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In the words of a motivational poster in the locker of Tennesse native and Baltimore Orioles reliever Jamie Walker, “You [mess] with me, you [mess] with the whole trailer park.”

It’s an interesting look at the way cultural patterns, even (or especially) irrational ones, can persist in unexpected ways.

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