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Historic Papers Documenting the 'Laws of Base Ball' Sell for More Than $3 Million

Swing, hit, run, slide into home. That’s essentially all there is to baseball, right? Wrong. The sport’s far more complex than that, thanks in part to the “Laws of Base Ball,” a collection of 23 historic documents from 1857 that established some of the sport’s essential rules. Last Sunday, these early instructions became one of history’s highest-priced pieces of sports memorabilia, The New York Times reports, thanks to an anonymous bidder who acquired the seminal papers via online auction for a staggering $3.26 million.

SCP Auctions, which described the rules as the “Magna Carta of our national pastime,” was responsible for the sale. Bidding began on April 6, and lasted for just over two weeks.

Daniel “Doc” Adams, president of the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, wrote the “Laws” in January 1857 when 14 baseball clubs met in New York City to codify rules for the sport, The Guardian writes. Today, Adams is credited with creating many of the game’s fundamental instructions, including nine men on a side, 90-foot base paths, and nine innings to a game.

For years, the "Laws of Base Ball" were owned by the family of William Grenelle, a Knickerbockers delegate to the 1857 convention. An anonymous buyer purchased the documents in 1999 for $12,000; he didn’t know their true value until the auction house appraised them and predicted they would sell for more than $1 million, the Associated Press reports

Think $3.26 million is a lot of money? Believe it or not, die-hard baseball fans have shelled out even more cash for prized relics from the sport's history. In 2012, Babe Ruth’s 1920 New York Yankees jersey sold for $4.4 million. In 2010, James Naismith's 1891 "Founding Rules of Basketball" sold for $4.3 million, The Guardian points out.

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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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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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