Jackson: A universal pastime meets the National Pastime

From SABR member Frank Jackson at The Hardball Times on April 2, 2014:

For brewers and owners of baseball teams, a good draft is a must, but a great draft is preferable. And bad hops are anathema in both pursuits.

Of course, brewing goes back to the infancy of civilization and the earliest days of agriculture, a claim that cannot be made by baseball. American history, however, is relatively short, and beer and baseball have been around for most of it. During the seventh inning stretch when they play God Bless America, the picture really comes into focus when you reach the “oceans white with foam” line and swap out “beer steins” for “oceans.”

Despite movie westerns that imply that “fire water” was something new to the Amerinds, the indigenous folks had a corn-based alcoholic beverage of their own. Technically, it probably wouldn’t qualify as beer today, and the ball games the various tribes played were not close to baseball. But the New World was hardly a blank slate when the Europeans arrived.

The colonists didn’t play baseball (though they might have played some forerunner of the game), but they certainly had their favored methods of making adult beverages. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both home brewers (the latter also was into making wine). Contemporary beer geeks often cite Benjamin Franklin, who supposedly said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” He also once said, “Fart proudly,” which may be an inevitable corollary of the previous quotation. So don’t blame it on the dog, blame it on barley. If you name your dog Barley, as a friend of mine once did, you can have it both ways.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/a-universal-pastime-meets-the-national-pastime/

Originally published: April 2, 2014. Last Updated: April 2, 2014.