When people see me, I know what they assume.  They think that I am some sort of effete wildflower photographer uninterested in the brutality and obscene profligacy of modern sport.  But that’s not true at all.  I love sports, especially baseball, which is a gentlemanly sport that incorporates refinement, leisure, and sophistication in ways that football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and NASCAR do not.

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Still, it’s not a perfect sport, and if I had my way, I’d change a few things.  For instance, every time a manager or pitching coach visited the mound to confer with his pitcher, he would be accompanied by a buxom farmgirl serving cocktails.  Then, over a couple of drinks, the pitcher, the catcher, and the coach could discuss strategy.  Curveball?  Slider?  Intentional walk?  Let’s think about this as we sip our mint juleps.  This would calm everyone’s nerves, and I think I’m basically correct when I point out that nerves have served up more hanging curveballs than bad pitching technique ever has.  Some of you are probably already objecting.  You’re pointing out that drugs (pills, joints, whatever) are better at calming nerves.  You might be right, but drugs on the baseball diamond sends a bad message to children.  A well-made cocktail?  That’s a mark of sophistication.

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Dugouts are big places, and I see no reason why they can’t be retrofitted with a bar, tended by a specifically trained sports-alcohol expert, a kind of specialized bartender.  The teams with the best drink experts would enjoy a competitive advantage, and during the off-season teams would have to vie with other teams to sign the best bartenders to free-agent contracts.  Essentially, this guy would be just another coach, like the bullpen coach except they’d know how to mix the perfect drink for any given situation.

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For the sake of organization and order, only pitchers and catchers would be able to drink on the field, and only during conferences on the mound.  As for the other players, they can drink in the dugout when their team is at bat.  What about pitchers in the bullpen, you might ask?  For them, I think a cooler stocked with ice cold beer should do the trick.  Middle-relief is one of the underappreciated positions in professional baseball, and nothing would prepare a slightly overweight southpaw for 2/3 of an inning of work like a Pilsner or a German-style Kolsch.

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Last point:  I mentioned earlier that I thought buxom farmgirls ought to serve the drinks.  I realize this might sound sexist, but what else connects baseball to its pastoral roots than buxom farmgirls?  Still, as a concession to progress I think it’s advisable to open this “beer wench” position to both men and women.  If a lithe young male gymnast can cartwheel out of the dugout and do a couple of backflips while holding a tray of cool, refreshing, alcoholic drinks, I say we give the young man a chance at the big leagues.

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I almost forgot the umpires.  They’re important figures in the game and I get really pissed off every time an ump blows a call because he’s thinking about how absolutely excellent a wine spritzer would taste.  As league policy, I suggest the home team supplies the umpires with a wide choice of drinks.  After all, the home team is the host and every decent host should know that if there is one thing to have available to discerning guests, it’s a good selection of fine wines, spirits, and beer.

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