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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1998)
Americans addicted to instant gratification of home-run drama.
ADAM KLINKER is a
sophomore English and
history major arid a Daily
This summer, as I sit back and
marvel at a production played out
on a grand stage with grander char
acter, I feel a little guilty I’m not
gaping at some monumental
Shakespeare on the Green produc
tion or an uncut version of “Citizen
Instead, it’s a baseball game I
It’s a baseball game on televi
sion. It’s really the highlights of a
baseball game on television played
on late night ESPN.
It couldn’t have been written
better in Hollywood or on
Broadway by Tarantino or Marlowe.
All this mystique is behind two
men, one a marvel of human huge
ness and the other a soft-spoken
young Dominican, converging on a
record of immense proportions and
This was indeed the summer
that Babe Ruth built, Roger Maris
haunted, and Mark McGwire and
Sammy Sosa owned.
America is a curious place, and
those who have summed it up best
have found a heart and soul to our
nation buried deep within the lines
of our pastoral “National Game” , of
But this is 1998.
This is the Gilded Age of
Gargantuan Athletes, where a play
ing field elevated by the perfor
mance of a few who surpass the
mere mortals dominates the image
of a Sunday afternoon pick-up
game in the park.
As a new, power-loving game,
baseball is back with its power-lov
Watching McGwire proves to be
an interesting look. A foreign citi
zen might learn a lot about the
American people just by watching
There’s the graceful force in his
swing, his easy dispatch of the bat
as he watches the ball disappear
into the seas of raving fans, maybe
a pump of the fist skyward as he
rounds first base.
It’s what so wholly captivates us.
It’s what keeps us on the edge as we
watch him, chewing his gum calmly
like he was indifferently walking
the aisles of some perverse house of
freaks - all in turn watching him.
And then, of course, for the
roughshod Chicago Cubs fans, the
answer to pennant drought is the
home-run chase. The answer to the
absence of any Ruthian clout is
Sammy Sosa-esque splendor.
America can’t get enough of
these guys, and that’s great. It may
be the return of American heroism
in sports. It certainly signals the
return of baseball.
How about this American game?
Ratings are up all over the place.
It’s not a team sport anymore, but
America’s not a team country either.
It’s a game about two men or
three men where the other stars fade
into the background behind these
greater celestial beings.
America’s psychosis over the
long ball transcends anything in
sport or entertainment. It’s instant
gratification. You can’t get it with a
100-yard touchdown or even a slam
A homer has the happy medium
between the two. Sports fans don’t
have to wait for the athlete to run
the gamut, and there’s just enough
awe-inspiring look to a home run to
discount it as a scant, short atten
tion span fling.
A home run has the right look,
sound and feel. It also has the right
propulsion behind it - a normal
human being swinging a stick.
At least, at one time it did have
the right acting member wielding
Times were that a baseball play
er was different from a football
player or basketball player. A base
baller didn’t have to be of enormous
size, height or weight.
Baseball was America’s game
because the little guy with a great
arm could become a hero, and he
looked like everyone else.
That’s not what America wants
anymore. America wants the
McGwires and the Sosas with arms
resembling trunks of mid-sized
trees. Relatively skinny Ken Griffey
Jr. is a marvel because he hits with
what he’s got in technique.
Griffey probably spends 10
times longer working on his funda
mentals than McGwire or Sosa do
lifting in the weight room. He’s
probably a rarity not only in base
ball, but in the American lifestyle in
McGwire and Sosa are the per
fect American heroes because of
their raw strength and their ability
to hit a 9-ounce leather spheroid to
Griffey is a member of the origi
nal American mystique because,
like Ruth, Maris and Willie Mays,
he 's just an ordinary man doing
If we can learn something of
ourselves from this home-run craze,
then we must also learn something
of our nation.
We are addicted to this thing.
We like the idea of the long ball.
We like the energy of it. It is our
As the season comes to a close
*and the pace grows frantic and the
mark grows closer and America
presses an intent ear to the radio
and casts a watchful eye on the tele
vision, hopefully baseball will
remain our preferred game.
Hopefully, baseball will keep
giving us these exciting outlets and
maybe offer a way for us to see our
selves in the game.
It’s not really the race that mat
ters at all, but the people who run it,
that we might see ourselves in j
Two weeks of television abstinence leads to pro-life poultry pondering
TODD MUNSON is a
major and a Daily
When I moved back into the lit
tle slicje of hell that I call my apart
ment, a significant change was
It wasn’t the disappearance of
the roof over my living room or the
various critters that set up shop dur
ing my three-month absence, but
the television. It has yet to be
Dtiring the first few days, the
telly still had a firm grip on my life.
Morfc than a few times I caught
myself sitting in front of a blank
screen hoping it wbuld spring to
A scant two weeks later, I have
more free time than I know what to
do with and have begun to freely
think on my own since the ol’ radia
tion cube’s mind-sucking capabili
ties are no more.
Perhaps I’ve been thinking too
much. The other day I began to
ponder this question: Is it morally
correct for a staunch, rah-rah pro
lifer to eat chicken eggs?
Since I could get no answer
channel surfing, I went downstairs
to ask my neighbor, Goody, what he
thought of the subject. I found him
on the front porch in his underwear.
Picture a psychotic version of
Kramer and you have Goody.
ME: Do you think it s wrong for
a pro-lifer to eat eggs?
GOODY: What kind?
ME: Chicken eggs.
GOODY: Oh, not necessarily. .
ME: Why not? ' f
GOODY: Because chickens
practice external fertilization and
the eggs people eat aren’t yet fertil
ized by the rooster
ME: You ’re full of crap.
GOODY: No way man. I saw it
on TV When the egg rolls out of the
hen the shell is still porous and
that’s when the rooster goes around
and makes his deposits, so to speak.
ME: You jackass, you 're talking
about sea horses.
Ten minutes later, our argument
ended and I marched upstairs to
call Chris, the most morally sound
person I know.
ME: Hi. Is Christopher home?
Chris’ Roommate: No he s not.
ME: He sprobably out drink
ME: Well, on the odd chance
that he comes home in the next few
minutes, have him call Todd. I have
a philosophical question and need
to have my moral stance corrected.
CR: No problem. What’s the
ME: Is it okay for a pro
life, save-the-fetus type ^
to eat chicken eggs? f.
CR: You bet- ,
ter talk to Chris.
placed aeall to
Mark. Hell, he’s,
major and would .
be ecstatic for the
rare chance to
put his educa
tion to good use. ry
gyp. It wasn’t even about a red
ME: I gotta go; there s a beep.
CHRIS: What’s up, Snapper?
ME:/ ve got a question for you.
CHRIS: That’s what my room
mate said. He couldn’t remember
what it was, but he said it was out
ME: Is it morally correct for
pro-lifers to eat eggs?
CHRIS: Long ago in society, a *
distinction was made between the
value of animal life and the value of
human life. As you know, the value
of animal life is much lower, and
because of that, it is socially
acceptable to kill animals whether
it s for food or for fun gotten by
blowing something away and
mounting it on your wall.
Besides, many of those
people s beliefs are
strongly rooted in
that humans can do what they
choose with animals.
ME: You drinkin ’this weekend?
CHRIS: Ha. What do you
By this time, my politically sci
entific roommate had stumbled in,
and I knew he would have the
ME: Do you think it s right for
a pro-lifer to eat eggs?
AARON: Are you sniffing glue
ME: No. The question just
popped into my head, and I’m try
ing to find the answer.
AARON: Well, that depends. If
someone is one of those crazies
who ’ll kill to save a fetus, then I
don’t think they would have any
objections to eating an egg. But, on
the other hand, if they ’re the type
who sits on the Capitol
steps weeping for
ME: That’s disgusting.
AARON: Or what about my sis
ter? Every morning she shares an
- balisml i g*g|
ME: What, it sits at the kitcHeh ?
AARON: Yeah, she just lets it
fly around the house.
ME: Is it potty trained?
AARON: No. It just goes where
ever, but it’s easy to clean up.
ME: I’m going to bed.
Later that night, as I tried to fall
asleep, I realized that I missed hav
ing the television subliminally
is ^Tor the bir^s thin^^^
So I hopped out of bed, gave the
tube a good dust
- ^ t
/ and I
on video, “The Muppets
Take Manhattan” k y, - v
Much to my chagrin, the chick
en complex didn’t disappear but
magnified. Just what the hell do
you think Gonzo did with all his
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