For all the jumping up and down over the NFL trying to ram its way into England and support of British soccer teams becoming quite the fashion here in the colonies, we’re not hearing nearly as much as we should about the growth of baseball across the pond. England now has a national baseball team, and there stands a chance it could qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

I think this is lovely. I have no British blood, and the closest I’ve been to England is having gained, via reading many Regency-era novels, the knowledge that one is supposed to refer to the mother of a duke as “Her Grace The Dowager Duchess.” When I worked at the Kennedy Space Center, we educators used to fight over who got the visitors from England; when arrayed in folding chairs before a scale model of the space shuttle, they were interested, polite, tip-happy, and easily sunburned. You would have a good day on a bus full of Brits. I do believe they would support our beer-based lifestyle at Great American.

However, it might not be so easy on the field. To prepare for this, everybody needs to invest in the intellectual exercise of watching Master and Commander. Judging by this film, American baseball would be fine in 2020 should we meet our old frenemy.

It was fascinating to watch 18th century concepts of child care, especially in light of the fact that every single time my nephews even looked at a car door, they were by law ruched down and strapped in with a lap bar, a HANS device and five-point harness. During the Napoleonic Wars, apparently, not only were there no baby gates, but little kids were hurled onto active warships without so much as a bike helmet. By my count, one twelve-year-old on board the movie witnessed or endured the following over a two-hour period:

  • one suicide
  • one arm amputation
  • the violent death of a fellow twelve-year-old
  • two major naval battles
  • many shanties
  • one whipping
  • the scrupulous documentation of various beetles

In all, it was a disappointing movie, but it concerned me because if this is how children are prepped for everyday life over there, how are they bracing them up here in 2017?  How’s that gonna translate onto the diamond come 2020?

Let’s have a scrimmage. Bring the donkey, bring the beer, bring the Russell and the whole floating navy down the Ohio River.  They’ll love seeing a whole bunch of Germans ready for a fight.

6 Responses

  1. Mary Beth Ellis

    It made life interesting for her post WWII, I’ll say that much.

  2. TR

    Queen Elizabeth II’s British linage goes back to 1714 when her direct ancestor from the House of Hanover (Germany) became George I of Great Britain.

  3. Tservo

    Mary Beth and all of Redleg Nation, I’d highly recommend reading the entire Master and Commander series (although the title of this post suggests you have) not only for its portrayal of naval life in that era but also because the author (Patrick O’Brien) is amazing. It is excellent.

    As for the movie, it’s actually a mish-mash of two books (the first book which introduces the main characters and another which has a bit more action). You also forgot the self-surgery performed by the doctor on himself and the trepanning of a sailor’s skull. Fun stuff!

    Thanks for another great post as usual.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’ve only seen the movie, although I think I’d like the books. I’m right now reading the Poldark series, which is fantastic. Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Mary Beth Ellis

    I only saw “Titanic” when accompanied by its much needed Rifftrax commentary. Same with Avatar. In both instances, I felt as if I’d been shoved in a fitted sheet and beaten.
    I have the first book in the Horatio Hornblower series. It’s in a very, very, very, very long list of to-reads 🙂

    • Greg Gajus

      The Hornblower series is the Joey Votto of historical fiction 🙂 If pressed for time, start with Beat to Quarters (the first one that Forester wrote). Ship of the Line and Flying Colors are the essential sequels, and Hornblower and the Hotspur is also excellent.