Thursday, September 4, 2008

What's With All The British Bat Attacks?

Most of the things I write about come from scanning sports and newspaper sites, checking out links at news aggregators, or reading other blogs like BTF. I will, however, from time to time, throw in some random Google News searches for things like "baseball" or "ballgame" or something like that just to see what kind of random things pop up.

One thing that always pops up when I search for "baseball" -- without fail -- are street crime stories (like this one) from U.K. newspapers in which someone was attacked with a baseball bat. For what it's worth, it's always a situation in which some "yobs" attack an upstanding homeowner just trying to keep the peace and quiet in an otherwise respectable neighborhood. My guess is that that's a meme that just plays well in the British press, not unlike teacher-student sex scandals and shark attacks do here. Anyway.

The thing I don't get is where all of these baseball bats are coming from in the U.K, because baseball just isn't big over there. There's Welsh or British baseball, but (1) it's not that damn popular; and (2) the bats in that game are flat rather than round. If those bats are what's being referred to in the articles I read, wouldn't it be more likely that they'd be described as cricket bats?

There is some American-style baseball in the U.K., overseen by the British Baseball Federation, but there are only like 800 players on 40 teams in the whole country. Certainly that's not enough to warrant the corner sporting goods store to stock baseball bats as a matter of course. It's probably all special order stuff, right?

So where are the yobs getting the bats? You'd be amazed -- to the point of discomfort -- at how much time I have spent in the past year thinking about this issue.

8 comments:

rufuswashere said...

Very funny post.

And I agree -- spent over a year in England, never saw an actual game played. I went to a park where there was supposedly going to be a softball game played by a group of Americans like me, but when I got there the field was too wet, there weren't enough players, and nothing actually happened except for some friendly toss and shagging flies (and trip to pub right after, naturally). It's funny because I think the Brits would love baseball.

christopher said...

Importing bats to england could provide a nice little revenue stream for shysterball. And maybe you can put a little shysterlogo on them and try to drive up page hits. It goes without saying that you would be doing this to drive international interest in the game you love, of course.

jthewolfe said...

a friend of mine who's spent some time in england once commented to me that baseball bats are sold in every sporting goods store there. no gloves, no balls, just bats. they're simply popular as weapons there, because you can't get in trouble for carrying one around, like you could for having a gun or a knife. this strikes me as somewhat akin to having headshops that sell fancy blown-glass pipes and bongs that are not intended in any way to be used in conjuction with illegal drugs. there is a market, and they sell like hotcakes.

Joe said...

I live in London (and play baseball over here) and bats, gloves and balls are sold in just about every sports shop. I'm really not sure there are that many people attacked with baseball bats, we seem to have more of a problem with knives at the moment, especially in London.

Loztralia said...

I lived my first 28 years in London and can confirm that it is indeed easy to buy baseball equipment, especially bats. But British people would not like baseball - they have already formed their opinions of baseball and those opinions are (a) it's just rounders innit? and (b) they're all on drugs.

But yes, the British media cannot get enoufh of stories about innocent homeowners getting menaced by armed thugs. This reinforces the view that The Country Is Going To The Dogs without which no Brit could survive. If you read The Daily Mail (Britain's best-selling newspaper) you will find that the problems are generally caused by politically correct immigrants.

Mac said...

I've seen a number of British TV shows with baseball bats used as weapons, particularly in a home-defense role. I get most of my information about foreign countries from TV.

Anonymous said...

I was once kicked out of a head shop in Boston for daring to say 'bong' instead of water pipe. The man behind the counter gave me a mini pre-fab lecture about how they are intended for tobacco use only and should be called water pipes. I laughed and took my business elsewhere.

Walewander said...

This reminds me of an Irvine Welsh line in which a character gets a baseball bat for protection and wonders to himself whether anyone in the UK has ever purchased one for the purpose of actually playing baseball.