The Sunday Funnies and Factoids

Apr. 13/14    The Beer and Baseball Edition.

Front_page_bob-300x176I am in a not so good mood this morning after being kept up by a very exciting Blue Jays/Orioles baseball game last evening and a few too many beers.  Colby Rasmus tied the game at 1 – 1 in the top of the ninth inning with two out and two strikes against him.  He took a high fastball off of the Oriole closer deep to center field in the most exciting moment thus far in the early part of the season.  We went on to lose the game in twelve innings, by the meager score of 2 – 1.  Still smarting from that… so we should kick off the Sunday funnies and factoids talking about one of the best subjects ever… BEER.  Monday was National Beer day, so in its honor here are some lesser known beer facts.

25 Amazing Facts for National Beer Day 

1. After he won the Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

2. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

3. At the Wife Carrying World Championships, first prize is the wife’s weight in beer.

4. A cloud near the constellation Aquila contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

5. Coined in the early 1900s, the word “alcoholiday” means leisure time spent drinking.

6. The builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza were paid with a daily ration of beer.

7. During WWII, a bear named Wojtek joined the Polish army. He transported ammunition and sometimes drank beer.

8. Fried beer won Most Creative Fried Food at the 2010 Texas State Fair.

9. The top five states for beer consumption per capita: 1. North Dakota, 2. New Hampshire, 3. Montana, 4. South Dakota 5. Wisconsin.

10. Germany is home to a beer pipeline. Taps in Veltsin-Arena are connected by a 5km tube of beer.

11. Thomas Jefferson wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.

12. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.

13. At the end of Prohibition, FDR said, “What America needs now is a drink.”

14. Winston Churchill called the concept of Prohibition “an affront to the whole history of mankind.”

15. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

16. Oktoberfest originally started as a festival celebrating the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig.

17. At spas in Europe, you can literally bathe in beer as a physical and mental therapeutic treatment.

18. In the 1990s, the Beer Lovers Party ran candidates in Belarus and Russia.

19. J.K. Rowling invented Quidditch in a pub.

20. Beer helped Joseph Priestly discover oxygen. He noticed gases rising from the big vats of beer at a brewery and asked to do some experiments.

21. A Buddhist temple in the Thai countryside was built with over a million recycled beer bottles.

22. The moon has a crater named Beer.

23. Beer soup was a common breakfast in medieval Europe.

24. At the start of Bavarian Beer Week in Germany, an open-air beer fountain dispenses free beer to the public.

25. In the 1980s, a beer-drinking goat was elected mayor of Lajitas, TX.

 

2) In keeping with my theme of the day, 10 Weird Rules From Early Baseball:

1) Before rules were officially codified in 1857 by the game’s first organizing body, The National Association of Base Ball Players, there was no tradition of playing nine innings in a game. Instead, teams played until a predetermined number of runs — called “counts” or “aces” were scored by the winning team. Teams usually played to 21.

2) Part of the fun of sitting in the stands at a baseball game is the chance to snag a home run or foul ball as souvenir. Not so in the earliest days of the game. Baseballs were relatively expensive to obtain and baseball clubs guarded their balls carefully. In fact, it was commonplace for a single ball to be used for an entire game. If the ball was hit into the long grass or the bushes, play was suspended until the ball was recovered, with players from both teams fanning out to find the precious baseball.

3) Parents of young little leaguers in “coach pitch” games may be familiar with this one: In the mid-19th century, the pitcher was not expected to try to retire the batter at all. Instead, pitchers were referred to as “feeders” and given the duty of tossing nice, fat, hitable balls to the opposing team.

4) Umpires get a lot of grief in today’s game, but in the earliest days of the baseball it was different. Umpires were usually prominent members of the community and sat somewhere in rough vicinity of the game, often under an umbrella. From a 1916 newspaper report in The Marion (Ohio) Star: “The old time umpires were accorded the utmost courtesy by the players. They were given easy chairs, placed near the home plate, provided with fans on hot days and their absolute comfort was uppermost in the minds of the players. The umpire always received the choicest bits of food and the largest glass of beer.

5) As officials tried to even out the balance between pitchers and hitters, various new rules were tested and discarded. In 1879, it took nine balls for the umpire to issue a walk, or a base-on-balls. The concept of the strike zone was terminally wobbly as well. Early batsmen were allowed to request that the pitch be thrown high or low, and the pitcher was required by the rules to deliver the pitch requested. Also, the hitter couldn’t take his walks literally. If the batsman failed to run to first on a base-on-balls, he could be thrown out by the defense.

6) In the 1880s, a sequence of bizarre rules were introduced allowing the use of bats that were square or even flat on the business end, ostensibly allowed the batsman to “place” the ball in play. The bats never really worked out, principally because they had the nasty tendency to splinter into pieces on contact with the baseball.

7) The shortstop’s infield position between second and third base is a relatively modern phenomenon. Initially, the shortstop was a kind of roving fourth outfielder whose chief duty was to relay balls from the outfield back to the infield. Keep in mind that in the early days of the game, baseball diamonds weren’t usually fenced in. Any ball hit over the outfielder’s head just kept on going.

8) In early baseball, a batsman was called out if the fielder caught the hit on the fly … or on the first bounce. The first bounce rule was so entrenched in the game, in fact, that it took more than five years of debate at the game’s official annual convention to finally overturn it.

9) Players were even more resistant to changing another early rule of the game, familiar to aficionados of playground kickball. In the mid-1800s, if you were an unfortunate baserunner in the game of baseball, you could be put out between bases by having the ball thrown directly at you. This particular manner of getting an out — known as “patching,” “plugging” or “soaking” — was considered central to the manly spirit of the game.

10) In the very earliest days of the pastime that would later be called baseball, the game was literally played backwards. Bases were commonly run clockwise in these proto-baseball games, with the batter running toward what is now third base, after the ball was put into play. In fact, in some variations, the batsman could choose to run clockwise or counterclockwise, and subsequent hitters in the inning would be obliged to follow suit.

 

Enjoy  the rest of your weekend boys and girls and be safe until we meet back here next week.

A tip of the hat to the boys of summer and to anyone who brews, serves me, buys me, or sells me beer.  I love you all very, very much.

 

Keith

 

Sources:  Mental Floss, Discover.com    (a shout out to my partner in crime, Nick, for finding the baseball rules and passing them on to me)