Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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August 10, 2007 |
Post to the Host:
The subject of Little League baseball chatter, i.e., "hey battah-battah" and "we want a pitcher, not a belly itcher," has come under scrutiny lately and it's been suggested that to eliminate it would be a good thing since it leads to verbal taunting of the opponent. I recall an essay of yours entitled "Attitude" which had to do with how a ballplayer, even an amateur softball player such as yourself, conducts himself on the ballfield. In it, you stressed the importance of chatter, spitting, rubbing dirt, etc. Would you continue to stand by that assertion or now, being the parent of a youngster who might soon if not already be involved in organized sports, would you reconsider the value of baseball chatter?
Hey hey letter poster, stick your fingers in the toaster!!! Chicago, Chicago, what can I say? It's not New York and it's not LA. Chatter and insult are part of the game, Jim: that's how you know it's not golf. Dignified men sit in the stands and the umpire calls a strike and the men yell, "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?" They bellow and boo and holler, "You're missing a good game, Ump!" and things are earthier and funnier. Of course Little League is different, being for the pleasure of children and all, and you don't want oafish parents embarrassing the kids, but I'd hesitate to squash the players from expressing themselves. The verbal harassment I've heard on ballfields doesn't rise to the level of "taunting," it's all pretty formulaic stuff, and it's simply meant as a bond with your teammates and a way to work off some nervousness. My youngster is nine and has a pretty good arm and a good eye but her competitive urge is low, so I doubt we'll be pushing her into Little League. I wouldn't want to be the umpire who has to stifle whispering and muttering among the infielders. On the other hand, anybody who taunts my child I will follow them home and put giant fruit bats in their porch and kill their grass. I will haunt them for years. I will never forgive. I will make their lives pure misery. Next question?