WASHINGTON, May 19, 2012 — Baseball’s most enduring lesson is Never Say Never. Not if you’re a player, not if you’re an owner, not if you’re a fan. Never can never be in your vocabulary as these five great baseball jokes prove:
5. NEVER GIVE UP
Shirley Povich, The Washington Post’s legendary sportswriter, enjoyed telling this one and used it in more than one of his columns during his 75-year-long career.
The great Ty Cobb had an ego the size of Griffith Stadium. During an interview, many years after the Hall of Famer’s retirement, a reporter asked: “Mr. Cobb, you racked up superlative batting averages in your day, winning 12 American League batting titles. But if you were playing now against today’s pitchers who don’t have to pitch entire games, what do you think your batting average would be?”
Cobb hesitated just a moment, then said, “I’d bat maybe .300.”
“Really?” the reporter said, surprised at Cobb’s modest estimate. “Only .300?”
“Well, don’t forget,” the great one said, “I’m 70 years old now.”
4. NEVER LOSE HOPE
Famed sportscaster Bill Stern shared this one year ago with the listeners of his weekly “Sports Reel” radio broadcast.
A man paused to watch a group of boys noisily engaged in a game of sandlot baseball. The bases were loaded, the man noted, when the batter clouted a ball over the head of the left fielder. Two runs scored.
The little third basemen seemed undaunted, as he pounded his fist into his glove and chattered encouragement to his pitcher.
Curious now, the man called to the little guy, “What’s the score?”
“It’s 18 to nothin’.” the little tyke shouted.
“Then how can you be smiling?” the man asked. “Aren’t you discouraged?”
“Heck, no,” the boy replied. “We ain’t been to bat yet.”
3. NEVER TOO LATE
This gag often comes up regarding the proverbial “pitcher’s duel.”
When the fan’s wife showed up at the ballpark, the game was well underway. Dropping some shopping bags on the empty seat on one side of her husband, she plopped down in the seat on the other side of him.
“What inning is it, honey?” she asked.
“Eighth!” snapped the irate husband.
“And what’s the score?” she asked.
“Nothing to nothing,” he barked.
“Good,” she sighed. “Then I haven’t missed anything.”
2. NEVER LOSE YOUR OBJECTIVE
Fabled broadcaster Paul Harvey ended one of his syndicated shows with this thought provoker:
A boy stood alone on the baseball field, engrossed in hitting fungos. (Fungos are when a batter tosses a ball in the air with one hand, firmly grasp the bat with both hands, and swings to hit the ball as it comes down.) But each time, the ball plopped to the ground right in front of him.
Undaunted, the little fellow would again pick up the ball and toss it in the air. Again he would take a mighty swing, and again the baseball would thud to the ground.
A man who had been watching this sad exhibition had to speak up. “Not having much luck, are you, little man?”
“What do you mean?” the boy asked.
“Well, I’ve been watching you for 15 minutes, and you haven’t hit one ball.”
“Shows how good I am!” the boy snapped back with a wide grin. “I’m a pitcher!”
1. NEVER EXPECT TO WIN ‘EM ALL
This one has made the rounds, but I’ll credit the man from whom I first heard it, my comedian friend, Bill Bower.
A man walks into a bar with his dog.
He says to the bartender, “I’ll bet you a free drink my dog can talk.”
The bartender says, “You’ve got to be kidding; get out of here.”
“I’ll prove it,” the man says. “I’ll ask him a question and he’ll answer it.”
“This I gotta see,” says the bartender.
“Fido, what’s on top of this building?”
The dog growls something which sounds amazingly like “Roooof.”
“There you are,” the man laughs.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” the bartender bellows. “That doesn’t prove a thing.”
“OK. I’ll try another question,” the man insists. Turning to the dog, he asks,
“How does sandpaper feel?”
The dog responds with an emphatic, “Rrruuuff.”
“I told you to get out of here and I mean it.”
“Wait one minute,” the man snaps. “I’ll ask him a baseball question. He likes baseball. Fido, who was the greatest hitter of them all?”
The dog hesitates just a moment before growling, “Rrrooooth.”
The bartender doesn’t even argue this time. He runs around the bar, grabs the man by the shirt collar, the canine by the dog collar and tosses them both out onto the sidewalk. Both sit quietly for a while, then the dog says sheepishly, “What should I Have said, Ted Williams?”
Vance Garnett’s writings have appeared in major newspapers and magazines. They have won the praise of such luminaries as Paul Harvey, William Safire, and Shirley Povich. Vance has shared his life experiences and knowledge of D.C. with the Washington Historical Society, the Kiwanis clubs of the Washington area, and on WAMU’s “Kojo Nnamdi Show.”
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.