Early in the season, I shared with you the important baseball tradition known as Cleting out, the process of abandoning a sporting event, live or otherwise, earlier than hoped for or expected. It is named for the origin of the practice, my awesome maternal grandfather, who taught me early that disgust and missing the cutoff man go hand in hand.

Since this piece was published, our readers have posed many valuable questions about the finer points of telling the home team who’s really in charge here. Therefore, in honor of one of Clete’s very favorite holidays– he commanded his own personal bowl of mashed potatoes from his station at the head of the table on Thanksgiving– I would like to clarify the delicate etiquette of Cleting.

Clete prepares to render judgement on the mid-stage Big Red Machine performace of the Reds.

Can one Clete out of other sports?

RULING: Yes. The value of Cleting out may be applied to other activities. My mother carried out a high-stakes Cleting of the Bengals during Super Bowl XXIII. She vanished into the the living room with a video disk of State Fair at halftime and was never seen again. I joined her for the occasional update, as well as “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” but could not bring myself to pull the trigger on a full Clete. She was the happiest person in the city for those final 34 seconds.

I once Cleted out of a figure skating competition after my favorite fell. Mid-routine.  Just… zap, blank screen. Done with you.

What if one is viewing a tape of the game?

RULING: You’ll note that I didn’t use the term “DVR” here. This is on purpose. Clete went to his eternal reward before DVRing was a common practice, and it would have absolutely terrified him. However, the act of Cleting out forced him to become adept at using a VCR, for viewing purposes, at least. What else was he going to do for entertainment when John Franco walked in a run but turn to yet another screening of Roman Holiday?

Therefore, in the case of viewing a recording of a game, it is indeed permissible to return to the proceedings in the event the team has straightened itself out. The players have clearly received the message after the fact; you have made your point by fast-forwarding the frightening and anger-inducing parts. You have registered your disapproval, and that’s what really matters.

If you Clete out of a game you have been watching, can you return to it in another format, such as radio?

RULING: You cannot. Cleting out is final. I cite here the Rule of Mass, as noted here in the original Constitution of Cleting Out, Redleg Nation, May 5 in the Year of Our Lord 2021, Section 3, Paragraph 10:

Clete’s authority extended beyond baseball. He was also a minor pope, whose judgment on whether or not daily Mass may be missed under a particular set of circumstances was akin to canon law and applied to one’s activities for the next twenty-four hours. If you’re too sick/it’s too icy/there’s too much bombing to go to Mass, then you’re too sick/it’s too icy/there’s too much bombing to go anywhere else for the rest of the day. This also applied to team performance. So if you’ve abandoned the game, the players in question must endure without your presence for the remaining innings, no matter how valiant the comeback.

You must be firm in your Cleting. You’re sending a message here. Do not turn to the Cowboy once you have extinguished Chris Welsh.

Can one Clete out of an entire season?

I just did. It was weird and sad and dispiritng,  but bearable. After a lifetime of honing my Cleting out skills, I applied it to not just the Reds, but all of the MLB. I didn’t see or listen to a single game in its entirety. I assume they’ve learned their lesson.

I hope this helps, Redleg Nation. Any other clarifications you’d like to set before the Unifited East Side/West Side Council on Cleting? Let me know in the comments.


17 Responses

  1. LDS

    Next season is a candidate to clete out. The Reds have done nothing constructive while the other teams in the division try to improve, e.g., Cards signing Matz. But hey, the Reds did waive Miley and give away Barnhart, so maybe the Pirates will get some competition for the cellar this year.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Good points.
      Whenever I feel really low, I just remind myself that at least I’m not a Pirates fan. But then…

      • TR

        In the Burgh, the Steelers and Penguins support the Pirate fans.

  2. 2020ball

    Dangit, comment awaiting moderation because I tend to forget rules lol. The word in question can be changed to ‘darn’ please.

    • 2020ball

      Since I assume the comment will not be posted (which is fine, no ill will), it was merely saying that even if I am annoyed by business related or team performance issues, I like baseball too darn much to ever give it up. To each their own however, what anyone decides to follow is their choice to make.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        It was not at all easy, and I hope I won’t have to do it again. But there were so many non-baseball issues swirling around that I just couldn’t enjoy it the way I used to. Thanks for keeping the flame while I Cleted out for a while.

      • 2020ball

        You do you, no judgements. Baseball is always a willing part of your life should you wish its return.

  3. Mark Moore

    Perfect, MBE!

    We shall see what 2022 brings, if any baseball at all.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Oh crap, I didn’t even think of that. The whole sport, Cleting out.

    • LDS

      I’m somewhat optimistic that the CBA will resolve before a lockout. If the season doesn’t start on time, the owners and players risk slaying the golden goose. After the 2020 short season, the elimination of many affiliates in small towns (how does MLB think the fanbase is built) and the COVID restrictions, I’m not reading a lot of things that suggest the fans are in a particularly patient or forgiving mood.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        You’re right. All that minor league “consolidation” is really going to start to bite back on MLB.

  4. Daytonnati

    Is there a “Positive Cleting”? As in the Reds score 9 runs in the first inning and 5 more in the second and the opposing manager starts substituting regulars by the 5th? Or is “Cleting” limited to only bailing in disgust?

    • 2020ball

      It seems to imply some unhappiness on your end, not necessarily the thing being boring or having an understandable reason for you leaving, but maybe not always disgust necessarily. Perhaps we all clete out on certain games based on the score, even if our team has a chance to comeback at some point, but the phrase seems to embody something more beyond just turning the TV off during a blowout. Maybe it could include both, and if you’d prefer to differentiate the two that’s in bounds in my book.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Indeed. The impetus behind a proper Cleting out includes, but is not limited to:

        The second aspect is what sent my mother to State Fair back in 1989. Good call on her part.

  5. Oxfordsport

    Since the team aced me out by providing video only to spectrum customers I Cleted them out. Was it cheating that I went to one game to meet a friend as part of an annual tradition? How about checking box scores and reading game summaries?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      This is awesome. The next person who cancels Spectrum, please put “Cleteing Out” in the “Other” reason category when the system asks you why you’re leaving. RISE UP.

      As to your requests for clarification:
      -Annual traditions are not covered in a full Clete-out. As the name implies, you’re in or you’re out. If decades-long friendships fall by the wayside, so be it.
      -Box scores and game summaries are permissible, as you are reviewing the stats of the game after the fact and not the game as it unfolds in real time. The team has already suffered from your abandonment. Your point has been made.

      • west larry

        All good points. I cleated out of the Bengals for the last decade…I didn’t like their mostly criminal team. After watching their new quarterback play, I’m back in Did I cleat my way back in?