BASEBALL IN NAVAJO.

Another sweltering day, and before I head off to South Hadley for beer, pizza, and Tour de France viewing, all I can work up the energy to post is Rob Neyer’s brief report at Baseball Nation announcing that the Arizona Diamondbacks would be broadcasting a game in Navajo, apparently “the first Major League Baseball game to be broadcast in Native American language.” To quote Rob: “Cool, huh?” (I’m too hot to connect that quote with the weather in an even moderately amusing way.)

Comments

  1. I presume that was watching the Alpe d’Huez super-stage. Van Garderen was unlucky to be up against a Frenchman determined that the French would not finish this year’s Tour without winning a stage.
    There has been a lot of speculation here (France)about Froome’s performances being due to drugs, but I think it’s more likely that we are seeing a superb athlete racing against people like Contador, who for all his protests, tested positive a couple of years ago. Their true athletic potential is now being revealed.
    With Sky having fired a number of important people for a history with drugs, and the endless testing, I think it extremely unlikely the team or Froome would take any chances. The performances of the rest of the team would seem to prove that, too.
    Really tough stage again today, will be fascinating.

  2. “the baltering torrent | Shrunk to a soodling thread” – spambot autotext, Dodgsonian nonce, or actual poem about a heat wave?

  3. There has been a lot of speculation here (France)about Froome’s performances being due to drugs, but I think it’s more likely that we are seeing a superb athlete
    That’s very generous-spirited of you, but having taken a similar line about Armstrong for years and been burned, I have no generosity left in me on that score. I assume they’re all doping, using techniques that have not yet been detected by those who are supposed to keep tabs.
    With Sky having fired a number of important people for a history with drugs, and the endless testing, I think it extremely unlikely the team or Froome would take any chances.
    That’s what people used to say about Armstrong. You, like they (and my former self), are neglecting the great amount of money to be made by successful riders. If the only reward for winning were a crown of laurels, the incidence of cheating would be magically reduced.
    “the baltering torrent | Shrunk to a soodling thread”
    Balter ‘To tumble about, to dance clumsily’; soodle ‘To walk in a slow or leisurely manner; to stroll, saunter.’ Interestingly, the OED cites this very Auden poem, and refers to it at the end of the definition: “(Isolated later example of baltering.)”

  4. Auden gets the poem into OED2 under soodle, too. Seems only Clare had used it before. And that poem is also quoted sv. soss, indulge, seamless, and Pantocrator. “Under Sirius” discussed briefly in the link above; WHA’s designs on OED2 citation discussed a little more fully here.

  5. In my opinion, the anti-doping regulations are perfectly irrational and should be abolished. What everyone does should not be treated as cheating, but as part of the game, just as it’s part of the game to train hard, to alter one’s diet, and so on. It’s true that some would-be competitors can’t afford them, but then some can’t afford to spend many hours a day training either.

  6. That’s what my wife says, too, and I’m slowly coming around to that opinion. I originally thought it was a bad idea to encourage people to ruin their bodies, but what the hell, it’s their choice.

  7. Ah, but there’s money involved. I guess that you support all kinds of corruption and vote-buying as well. Anything to keep your snout in the trough…

  8. I originally thought it was a bad idea to encourage people to ruin their bodies
    Some people treat their bodies like a temple; others like a theme park.

  9. I guess that legalising doping, and removing the criminality, might make it safer and more easy to regulate within reason. The problem really starts when you give athletes illegal drugs, like heroin (which Merckx was alleged to be on). I think they all should be legalised – you’re harming more people by the ban, after all – but many disagree, and could argue legalising some doping would just encourage the teams to go on to more and more dangerous substances to steal the edge.

  10. Breffni says:

    languagehat: “I originally thought it was a bad idea to encourage people to ruin their bodies, but what the hell, it’s their choice.”
    But you’re perfectly right that it’s a bad idea to encourage people to ruin their bodies, which is a very important point. If high-level competition becomes something we’d urge our talented kids or friends to avoid, because it’s likely to ruin their health, then surely something essential to sport will have been lost.

  11. Well, in an ideal world they would be able to pursue high-level competition without ruining their bodies, but that does not seem to be the world we live in. Both Armstrong and Barry Bonds claimed not to have wanted to take the drugs, but to have come to the conclusion that it was impossible to compete at the highest level without them. In any particular case, of course, such a claim could be disingenuous hypocrisy or self-delusion, but in racing everything I know seems to bear it out. We don’t want to encourage our kids to become drunks, either, but we allow the sale of alcohol because prohibition has been shown, pretty conclusively, not to work. The details are different, but the principle is the same.

  12. Breffni says:

    I’m probably the wrong person to engage in discussion on this, because I care far less about sports than most people do. But I’m assuming that a good deal of the appeal lies in admiration for the talents and dedication of athletes, and that’s what I think would be lost if high-level sport was an exercise in self-destruction. If doping were to be legalised, wouldn’t it be an admission of defeat? Wouldn’t admiration for the participants seep away, leaving mere spectacle? Athletes would be like gladiators, or actors up to a couple of centuries ago: you might enjoy watching them, but it would be something rather disreputable that you wouldn’t want your own loved ones involved in.

  13. Breffni: I don’t care about sports either. But by the “no harm” standard, boxing and most forms of football should be banned outright, as playing them causes progressive and inevitable brain and/or heart damage.
    Hat: I once read an article to the effect that tobacco prohibition might actually work better than alcohol prohibition did. Given how heavily it is taxed, organized crime is already involved in it, so that’s a wash. But tobacco is not a binge drug: people don’t go out on a Saturday night and smoke twenty packs and then go without all week. That different consumption pattern might make prohibition practical.

  14. Wouldn’t admiration for the participants seep away, leaving mere spectacle? Athletes would be like gladiators, or actors up to a couple of centuries ago: you might enjoy watching them, but it would be something rather disreputable that you wouldn’t want your own loved ones involved in.
    Very likely. My wife already pretty much takes that attitude (but then she was never a sports fan except for tennis, which was ruined for her when they stopped going to the net and just started trading huge blasts from the baseline).

  15. Broadcasting a sports event in Navajo is ground-breaking. There have been radio sattions broadcasting in pima for years and probably lots of other languages, but in an NPRish kind of way. A big league ball game is mainstream, and that is huge when it comes to the prestige a language needs to be taken seriously by kids that parents are trying to get to learn the language.

  16. J.W. Brewer says:

    You can’t have any sport without rules, and there will always be an incentive to cheat for people who care more about success than sportsmanship. Is it possible to design a non-boring-to-watch sport (a professional one, with real money at stake) with rules that are so clear and easy to enforce that no one will ever succeed in cheating without getting caught? That no one will ever even try?
    Now some sports may have (often unwritten) meta-rules, where e.g. it is not in practice considered unsporting to deliberately commit certain sorts of fouls or other violations as long as you are willing to take the corresponding penalty without complaint (as being worth it under the circumstances). The traditional etiquette of fighting in ice hockey is an example of that, and intentional grounding in football could be another. And most sports (professional golf is I think the most notable exception) do not expect you to self-report your own (inadvertent, at least) rules violation. Just keep on playing unless or until the ref blows the whistle. Although, you know, if you just ate that poppy-seed bagel which might make you test positive for opiates you may be better off volunteering that before you supply the urine sample.
    Didn’t Wittgenstein think the rules of a sport and the grammar of a natural language were instances of the same general phenomenon? I’m not actually sure how true that is, since there seems to be more of a need for at least a modicum of prescriptivism on the sports side.

  17. Perhaps the perception of being more or less doping-safe is why the TV exposure of and the money in snooker seem to be increasing very fast just now… I’m not quite sure whether it’s a sport or a circus act, though.
    (Snooker also seems to have had a functioning anti-doping regimen for at least 25 years, but from what I can find quickly they only catch ‘recreational’ drugs among the top players. I’m guessing that they’ve found drugs in general to be detrimental to performance).

  18. Why are they testing for recreational, non-performance-enhancing drugs in snooker players?

  19. Hat, re the heat, that website linked to by D-AW has a short video by an American Black Lady (‘This is not what I do; I do not do this’) that you might enjoy.
    Here in Haida Gwaii, we had our summer last week, now it’s back to overcast threatening rain (which we desperately need, although the landscape is still beautifully green).

  20. Like Hunter S. Thompson, I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

  21. David: Don’t forget sarcasm.

  22. What everyone does should not be treated as cheating, but as part of the game
    Illegal tackles in football?
    it was impossible to compete at the highest level without (drugs)
    Sports people do illicit drugs only when it looks like they will get away with it. Lance Armstrong’s fate should deter all but the dumbest bicyclists.

  23. But the fate of all the others didn’t deter Lance. The fact is that the prospect of big bucks makes people eager to take stupid risks.

  24. Lance thought his drugs were undetectable, which they were at the time he took them. He didn’t figure on his blood being tested years later with more sophisticated & sensitive detection material. That’s what bicyclists will have to figure on happening in the future too. Not everyone who wins the Tour de France must have been taking drugs. I doubt that either Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins do, for example – I can’t prove it, but if you accept for a second that maybe they haven’t, then you can see how Lance Armstrong would have been screwing the competition up for years for both of them and that’s why they’re so angry with him. Sport is supposed to be very healthy, that’s the point of it, that’s what kids (at least in Europe) learn at school. Maybe it still works with something shady like boxing, but you can’t run bicycling on the basis that in order to win the competitors must destroy their health.

  25. I doubt that either Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins do, for example – I can’t prove it, but if you accept for a second that maybe they haven’t…
    That’s how I felt about Armstrong, and I’ll bet you did too. It’s kind of a silly thing to discuss, since there’s no way of proving anything; if you’re willing to continue extending the benefit of the doubt, good for you—you’ve got more of the goat’s milk of kindness than I do. Yes, sport is supposed to be healthy, just as politics is supposed to be about the public good. It would be snarky to say “I rest my case,” but the parallel will suggest how I feel about it.

  26. the parallel will suggest how I feel about it
    C’mon, don’t become a cynical, price-of-everything-&-value-of-nothing hat. Some stuff is worth fighting for, some stuff changes for the better, and as I say I don’t believe it’s a lost cause.

  27. No, no, I’m a Lisp programmer, which means I know the value of everything and the cost of nothing.

  28. I don’t believe it’s a lost cause.
    Oh, I don’t either, but they’ll need to work a lot harder to convince me it’s being won. Let me put it this way: I believe baseball has largely licked its doping problem because production has fallen way down, so much so that the usual adrenaline junkies (er, by which I mean fans who are too fixated on thrills—perhaps an unfortunate metaphor in this context) are complaining that there are too few runs and hits and the game has gotten boring. The list of year-by-year home run leaders provides a good benchmark: for decades league leaders were hitting thirty, forty, maybe occasionally fifty HRs, and the record was 60 for almost thirty years and then 61 for almost forty; then suddenly in the late ’90s people regularly hit over fifty, Mark McGwire hit 70, Barry Bonds hit 73 for god’s sake—it was exciting, but at the same time everybody knew there was something fishy about it. Then the boil was lanced, baseball admitted it had a problem and instituted strict inspections, and now league leaders are hitting in the thirties and forties again. That’s what I consider proof positive. If cyclists start having as much trouble as they did several decades ago, that will mean something. Assurances that “I haven’t failed any tests (yet)!” don’t.

  29. Well, we just watched the closing ceremony, and both my wife and I thought Froome seemed like a nice lad and hoped he wasn’t doping. So your blasted optimism has been contagious. I hope you’re happy.

  30. My argument that Yinglish isn’t a language for Ethnologue/ISO purposes (PDF, see pp. 3-5). It was accepted, and the code “yib” was retired.

  31. Yes, I agree the home-run leaders is proof positive. That’s just nuts.
    Nobody suspects the nice lads.

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