Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Batter's Box

By Eric Bronson | Go to book overview

TOP OF THE THIRD
5 There Are No Ties at
First Base

TED COHEN


I. Thoughts on the Wonder of Rules

If you look closely enough at a rule, the cosmos will appear in all its physical, metaphysical, moral, and spiritual aspects, presenting you a life's work.

I wouldn't like you to think these characteristics are found only in American games. Consider the least American game we know (except, perhaps, for tossing the caber)—cricket. Here is part 10 of its Law 42, which is the law concerning Unfair Play:

10 TIME WASTING

Any form of time wasting is unfair.

On the not unreasonable assumption that playing cricket is itself a form of time wasting, what are we to make of this law? Is it that there is a proper way to waste time, in contrast to wasting time in a time-wasting way? It would not be such a remote observation that this chapter is a waste of time, but now we are wasting time while we waste time. These are very, very deep questions.

This observation about the cricket rule is only a jest, poking gentle fun at our British friends and their wonderful game, whose rules are subtle and fascinating. But there is a serious question about rules.

The common understanding of sports is that they are, as the saying goes, “rule-governed.” And surely it must be correct to

-73-

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