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Catching a Foul Ball In Your Beer

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Here is a definitive countdown of the coolest things you can do at a baseball game:

5. You are a baseball manager and you win the pennant.
4. You are a baseball manager and you win the World Series.
3. You are a baseball player and you win the pennant.
2. You are a baseball player and you win the World Series.
1. You are a fan and you catch a foul ball in your cup of beer.

While numbers 5-2 are pretty neat, they will never surpass the undeniable coolness of having a baseball plop right into your suds. It demonstrates astute hand-eye coordination—the coolest and most American coordination—and shows that you were in the process of drinking a beer, which is also very cool. During broadcasts of Major League Baseball games, there is always at least one camera dedicated to tracking the ball at all times, meaning you will be on TV if you catch one in your beer (and being on TV is too cool).

No other sport allows this kind of ball-beer interaction. Basketballs and footballs are too big to fit into beer cups, and the NHL has built glass partitions for the sole purpose of preventing their precious pucks from landing in fans' beers.

If you catch a foul ball the normal way, you are expected to give it to a nearby child. If you don't, the child may cry and you will you come across as a selfish jerk. If you catch it in your beer, however, it would be illegal to give it to a minor. "Sorry sport, this ball is coated in delicious beer. If I gave it to you, they'd send me to jail."

"Gee mister, you're cool!"

"That's right. Now run along."

Physics and probability theory state that catching a foul ball in your beer is very rare. But as they say, "If it were easy, everyone would catch a foul ball in their beer." Any time someone does it, it's unique and beautiful, but there is certainly a hierarchy within the baseball-in-beer spectrum.

1. The World's Finest Beer-Cup Catch

This, from a 2013 Mariners game, is nearly the Platonic Ideal of catching a baseball in your beer. He snags it straight out of the air (no bounces), and immediately chugs what looks to be a dark stout while the filthy ball still sits inside the cup. The crowd reaction is what makes it really special, though. If you ever hear raucous cheering like that at a meaningless April ballgame, it means someone caught a Rawlings in their brew.

Coolness Ranking:: 10/10 Fonzies.

2. The Accidental—But Still Cool—Beer Catch

The above catch is special because it tests the coolness of this gentleman—something that had already taken a considerable hit because he tucked his sunglasses into the front of his button-down. When the ball bounces into his beer, which splashes onto his shirt, he's understandably surprised. But—and this is the key here—he doesn't complain. He takes a big chug from his light beer and plays it up for the crowd.

You did a good job.

Coolness Ranking: 8/10 Fonzies

3. You Probably Scooped The Ball Into Your Beer But Hey, You Got Spunk

This guy looks to have trapped a ball that was bouncing and bumbling across the backs of seats with his beer. He didn't catch it, per se, but he's still awfully proud. And why shouldn't he be? He had the presence of mind to not pick it up with his hands.

It's almost elegant, when you think about it.

Coolness Ranking: 7/10 Fonzies

BONUS: POPCORN

Call the game and give this young man the win.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

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