Thursday, October 7, 2004

Go Cry Into Your Little Hankie

Memo to you and your Homer Hanky: YOU ARE DUMB.
Today, we're going to discuss why sports fans are worse than nerds. Sports fans like to mock nerds, which is perfectly understandable, until you realize that sports fans ARE nerds, at least by the officially accepted YAD definition, which is "someone who will tell you about their hobby even though you don't want to know".
The sporties are bad enough during the regular season, but let one local team get into the playoffs, and all of a sudden, their numbers swell, their fervor grows and throbs, and they start hanging shit up and waving shit around. Like Homer Hankies.
A "Homer Hanky" is the offical square of cheap cloth printed by underpaid third-world labor of the Minnesota Twins. You can tell it's a Homer Hanky, and not an ordinary nose-wipe, by the words "HOMER HANKY" emblazoned upon it. The Homer Hanky is then waved by fans whenever another chapter of the Iliad is completed.
OK, I'll admit I'm not actually precisely aware of the proper HH* usage. I don't know if it's waved to encourage a home run, or to celebrate one. I don't know if it can also be used as a regular hanky, or if it's sacrosanct in order to protect people in neighboring seats when it's subsequently waved. I do know that it's vitally necessary to give the fans something to do during a baseball game, because that way, you mask the astonishing level of inactivity on the field.
Baseball cracks me up. It truly is the "national pastime", because a lot of people spend a lot of time doing nothing during a baseball game. And don't send me e-mails or come to the forum with your Ken Burns shit about how all these guys work really hard and it isn't easy to stand there for the eleven or so subjective hours it takes to get through a game and all that. I've heard it all before.
The fact is, at any given moment during a baseball game, there are 18 people playing. Technically, that number could be more, thanks to the designated hitter rule, but trust me, it is kinder to baseball to leave that number at 18. Of those 18 people, throughout the entire game, five of them are guaranteed to be sessile. They have nothing to do. It's a different five people depending on when you check, but it's always at least five. That's a 28% inactiviy rate right there, or, by my handy conversion chart, "College Freshman".
For a vast majority of the time, that five number actually varies between five and eight, and spends a lot of time on 7 or 8. Let's be generous and split it evenly, 1/4 of the game five people are inactive, 1/4 of the game it's 6, etc. That's a 36% inactivity rate, and again, we go to the conversion chart, and see that that compares roughly to a cubicle drone on an average day.
The best hitters in baseball manage to hit the ball about a third of the time. Let's be generous and say that every hitter is that good. That means that for two thirds of a game, seven more people are inactive. This brings the total inactivity rate in a game of baseball to a mind-staggering, conservative estimate of 62.1%, or Someone Recovering From Minor Surgery.
But even during the times when the ball gets hit, not everyone in the field gets involved in the play. Let's again be generous, and assume that every single time the ball gets hit, it results in a triple play involving one fielder and three base-guys. That means for 1/3 of the game, an additional three people are inactive. Bringing the total inactivity rate in a game of baseball to SIXTY SEVEN POINT SIX PERCENT. That means that when you go to the single most exciting baseball game in the universe, where everybody is hitting like an All-Star and every play is part of a highlight reel, people are only actually doing stuff a third of the time.
THIS is what you're all excited about. This is what you hang your hankies up over, what makes you add "GO TWINS" to our electronic bus signs that would otherwise tell us where the bus is going, what makes you overturn cars and set them on fire on the off chance your local group of two-thirds-sessile steroid freaks defeats the other cities' teams? At least when nerds get excited about stuff, it's stuff where things actually happen**. And at least their stupid made-up merchandise lights up and makes sounds and fires missiles. It's not some cheap fucking piece of cloth you have to wave around for nine innings to keep your attenuated attention span happy because NOTHING'S HAPPENING ON THE FIELD.
So there you have it. Sports fans have been mathematically proven to be worse than nerds. Nerds, you may feel free to use these statistics at the next social gathering in which sports fans are also present, but I waive any liability for any wedgies that this action may incur.
*I was sick of typing "Homer Hanky" by the time I hit the first "m" in the first paragraph, so it's HH from here on out.
*OK, not the Stargate SG-1 fans, I'll grant you that one.