George Carlin: Baseball and Football

It’s an an oldie, but goodie that always remains fresh to those of us who’ve ever been fans of either or both sports. As displayed at the wonderful Baseball Almanac site, here’s a reprint of the late, great George Carlin’s greatest contribution to the joys of relative comparison:

Baseball and Football     George Carlin
by George Carlin
Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he’s out; sometimes unintentionally, he’s out.

Also: in football,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you’d ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you’d know the reason for this custom.

Now, I’ve mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying.

In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs – what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups – who’s up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog…
In baseball, if it rains, we don’t go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don’t know when it’s gonna end – might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we’ve got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there’s kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there’s not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you’re capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home!

Footnote:  All of the above is compliments of Baseball It’s a website that is loaded with many other treats for those who research and/or crave detailed data on the histories of MLB teams, their rosters, their seasons, and their player performances.


One Unfunny Thing

My son Casey and I spent Friday on a day trip to Beeville. Coming back on the northern route, about 9 miles south of Columbus, TX, after dark, on a cool full moon night, with a fire burning in the nearby woods, a doe (young deer) suddenly bolted into the driver’s side of us. As the driver, I only saw it as it was a few feet away from crashing into our car and  to its presumed death into the front fender area on my side. For whatever reason, I had the instinctual presence of mind to not try and veer away or jerk on the wheel. The traffic was pretty heavy both ways, and I could have done something that would have made writing this note today impossible. Thank you, God. I’m sorry about the young deer, but I shall be eternally grateful that the only other damage was to the body of my still drivable, but now badly-in-need-of-body-repair Nissan.



One funny thing. (At least, we thought it was funny, but don’t worry. I’m not quitting my day job. Just bear with me this time.)

On our trip, we kept seeing all these black and silver signs that read “Historical Marker, 1 Mile” along the way. Wish I were a cartoonist – because this is three-panel cartoon that occurred to me as a travel time mental amusement from the ubiquity of these notices.

The story takes place as we are driving across the border into a fictional country known as Comicania.

The Cartoon:

First Panel: Through the windshield, we have a view of the border line that stretches across the highway about 30 feet feet ahead. A big colorful billboard-sized sign, with a lot of smiling clown faces, balloons, and stand-up comics at mikes await us to the right of the road on the other side of the border – with the giant letters “WELCOME TO COMICANIA: The Land of Laughter” stretched across the visual message as a two-line script.

Second Panel: About 10 miles into Comicania, we next see through our windshield, the first of many small road signs, identical to the ones we have in Texas, with the exception of their first word. These signs read: “Hysterical Marker, 1 Mile”.

Third Panel: In the final panel, we are looking over the shoulder of the driver, who is now out of his car, looking ar the six-foot high aforementioned “Hysterical Marker”. A fairly long story continues in smaller lettering and it begins with these words:

“A Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and a Baptist minister walk into a bar together ….”


Have a nice weekend, folks! And just know that Casey and I are simply happy to be here!

~ Bill McCurdy, The Pecan Park Eagle


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


2 Responses to “George Carlin: Baseball and Football”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    Glad you are both okay, Bill. And, since that’s the case, I can mention that your story reminded me of an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer ran off the road and hit a deer decoy. He exclaimed his trademark “D’oh!” and the family all sang, “A deer, a female deer.” (Now, name that musical.)

    Again, glad you are both fine – cars can be replaced, but that’s not the case with people.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    I’m happy you and your son were not harmed and that you had the presence of mind not to over adjust the steering wheel. I’m certain the incident gave you a renewed appreciation of preciousness and precarious nature of life. Godspeed.

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