AMERICA STRIKES OUT
It is theoretically possible to score a “run” in the American game of baseball by striking out. This would not be an “earned run”, but would, count in the score nonetheless. Under the rules of the game, the lucky player would have to benefit from at least one further “error” to score. Although it is a highly unlikely event, and would make the opposing baseball team the laughing stock of the stadium, more Americans know the arcane rules that govern baseball than know what percentage vote is required for the US Senate to ratify a foreign treaty.1 Baseball is enjoyable only if the spectator understands the hundreds of rules that govern the way the game is played and scored, and this virtually requires growing up in America.2 Most Europeans who are dragged along to their first Yankees or Red Sox game by overenthusiastic American friends find the event about as interesting as watching paint dry. The American political system is also governed by hundreds of even more arcane rules, and understanding how a concept turns into a proposed bill, and eventually into law, requires an immersion into the subject virtually from birth. The American
1 Ratification of a foreign treaty requires a two-thirds majority vote in the US Senate.
2 Or Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Japan, the Dominican Republic, even Australia, but, most importantly, Cuba.