Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Officially a Tradition.

Abner Doubleday's Cardiff Giants tee shirt
Project #8 in '50 in 2008' challenge - Abner Doubleday's Cardiff Giants tee shirt

A new Valentine's Day tradition in our household…The annual giving of a custom stenciled fantasy baseball team shirt. It's a long running tradition, going on two years now.

As you can see, Mike likes his new team shirt.

And in case you don't get the reference (I wouldn't expect you to), Mike has given me permission to post the story behind his team's name.

"The baseball bigwigs of the world have lied to us many times. Putting aside the whole steroid thing for a while, the so-called "keepers of the game" have consciously lied to us about the origins of modern baseball, even though they know the truth.

They claim that Civil War General Abner Doubleday invented baseball. As legend has it, Doubleday approached a farmer in Cooperstown, NY, in 1839, and essentially laid out the rules of baseball for him. After that, word of the game spread and the Major Leagues was eventually born. That's why the baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown and the baseball diamond there is named Doubleday field.

That's all nice, except that Abner Doubleday didn't invent baseball and in fact, knew nothing about the sport. Never mind that, though, baseball put the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown anyway, and a display there honors Doubleday with a plaque that reads: "In the hearts of those who love baseball, he is remembered as the lad in the pasture where the game was invented. Only cynics would need to know more. Truthseekers be damned."

OK. I added that last line.

Also in Cooperstown is a museum holding a 10-foot-tall concrete statue of a man. In the 1800s, a farmer commissioned two Chicago sculptors to create the 10-foot-man and send it to Cooperstown. When the package arrived, the farmer beat up the statue, poured acid on it, and generally just made it look old.

Then he buried it.

Then he dug it up.

And he told all the newspapers he had found a petrified man on his property. People could see it, for a price.

It's name: The Cardiff Giant.

In a book I recently read about baseball by famed paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, he suggests it's only appropriate that both substantial hoaxes have birth in the same city.

Further making that point, Gould describes a group of New England history buffs re-enact the game of bases and balls that modern baseball evolved from over many years. It's called townball. In it, the batter stands in the middle of the four bases and hit the ball in any direction he wants. One out per inning.

Instead of a Civil War general finding a random farmer to explain his baseball invention to, the game evolved just like basketball from the peach basket.

The name of the townball re-enactment team: The Cardiff Giants."

The '08 Season

It's a heckuva lot better than 'Denny Crane's One-Legged Women,' the name of his second team. Though that shirt might have lent itself to some interesting prosthetic leg imagery. Or perhaps a mud flap-type girl with a peg leg?

On that note, I bid you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Now I'm off to watch LOST (Will this episode be even better than the last? They can't possibly keep getting better).

1 comment:

Dayna said...

This is such a great idea. I will have to remember this for my husband who is a big fantasy football fan.

Also love the runner up team name!

Seriously can Lost get any more suspenseful and good??