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Baseball's First Rules

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The title is a little bit misleading—baseball wasn't invented in a single stroke of brilliance, but rather evolved over time. A version of the game was likely played in Europe even before the first American mention by way of a law prohibiting games held too close to the town meeting house in Pittsfield, Mass. in 1792.

But it was the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York that constituted the first organized club to play a game that is recognizable as a direct ancestor of our modern sport. Although they began exercising and playing together in 1842, the team formally organized on September 23, 1845. As part of their official incorporation, the Knickerbockers established a list of 20 rules, which were as follows:

1ST. Members must strictly observe the time agreed upon for exercise, and be punctual in their attendance.

2ND. When assembled for exercise, the President, or in his absence, the Vice-President, shall appoint an Umpire, who shall keep the game in a book provided for that purpose, and note all violations of the By-Laws and Rules during the time of exercise.

3RD. The presiding officer shall designate two members as Captains, who shall retire and make the match to be played, observing at the same time that the players put opposite to each other should be as nearly equal as possible, the choice of sides to be then tossed for, and the first in hand to be decided in like manner.

4TH. The bases shall be from "home" to second base, forty-two paces; from first to third base, forty-two paces, equidistant.

5TH. No stump match shall be played on a regular day of exercise.

6TH. If there should not be a sufficient number of members of the Club present at the time agreed upon to commence exercise, gentlemen not members may be chosen in to make up the match, which shall not be broken up to take in members that may afterwards appear; but in all cases, members shall have the preference, when present, at the making of the match.

7TH. If members appear after the game is commenced, they may be chosen in if mutually agreed upon.

8TH. The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces; but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.

9TH. The ball must be pitched, not thrown, for the bat.

10TH. A ball knocked out of the field, or outside the range of the first and third base, is foul.

11TH. Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand-out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run.

12TH. If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out.

13TH. A player running the bases shall be out, if the ball is in the hands of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched with it before he makes base; it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him.

14TH. A player running who shall prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball before making his base, is a hand out.

15TH. Three hands out, all out.

16TH. Players must take their strike in regular turn.

17TH. All disputes and differences relative to the game, to be decided by the Umpire, from which there is no appeal.

18TH. No ace or base can be made on a foul strike.

19TH. A runner cannot be put out in making one base, when a balk is made by the pitcher.

20TH. But one base allowed when a ball bounds out of the field when struck.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

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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Great Big Story, Youtube
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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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