I got nostalgic and found the Rushin column that almost made me pee in my pants in the Kansas City Airport. It's from March 2001. I'm posting it here, if it's wrong to do so, sue
It's perfect for this time of year.
AIR AND SPACE
Twenty-nine Reasons That Baseball--Despite Craven Owners, Venal Players, Veterans Stadium, the Designated Hitter, Five-Hour Games and the Devil Rays--Is, and Always Will Be, the Greatest Sport in the History of the World:
1. Those ice-cream sundaes, served in inverted miniature batting helmets.
2. The mystical lure of baseball memorabilia, which compels us to crave ice-cream sundaes served in actual game-worn batting helmets.
3. Listening to Vin Scully.
4. Not listening to Steve Carlton.
5. Flipping the Spread: the time-honored tradition of overturning, in a motivational tirade, the postgame clubhouse buffet table.
6. The postgame clubhouse buffet table, from which an athlete making $ 16 million a year typically eats--off a paper plate, using only a spork--a three-course dinner of fried chicken, mayonnaise and Zagnut bars.
7. Aurelio Rodriguez, who had all five vowels in his first name.
8. Ed Figueroa, who had all five vowels in his last name.
9. The Topps Company, which has put chewing gum back into its baseball-card packs for the first time in 10 years.
10. The chewing gum itself, which is evidently pressed from the same cardboard used for the cards.
11. Jon Miller, who 10 years ago, when he was broadcasting Orioles games, lamented that Queen Elizabeth--on the day she visited Memorial Stadium--would not stop by the booth to read the Esskay Meats out-of-town scoreboard.
12. Don Zimmer, who doesn't have a plate in his head, though everybody thinks he does, and he never seems to correct them, possibly on account of the plate in his head.
13. Caps, which in baseball are worn on heads, as opposed to football (in which they're placed on salaries) or basketball (in which they're busted in fannies).
14. Whitey Herzog, who, when he was the Cardinals' manager, once conducted an interview at his desk with SI's Jack McCallum, who couldn't help but notice that Herzog was fully dressed from the waist up and naked from the waist down.
15. Again Herzog, who, throughout that same interview, was pantslessly eating a hoagie.
16. Cheddarwurst--a sausage injected with Cheez--a staple of tailgating at Brewers games, and a wondrous creation, sent by God to torment vegans.
17. Former Angels and Rangers skipper Doug Rader, who, in a memorable postgame clubhouse conniption, violently heaved his uniform pants, which landed squarely on the head of a sportswriter.
18. The sportswriter, who continued to take notes and nod gravely with another man's pants draped on his noggin, fearing that any attempt to remove the unlaundered trousers would further enrage Rader.
19. The simple knowledge that you can step into any baseball clubhouse and find yourself suddenly caught in a hail of pantsfire.
20. That moment, while talking to Tigers manager Phil Garner, when you try to determine if that's powdered-doughnut residue on his upper lip, or just mustache dandruff.
21. The Strat-O-Matic baseball board game, which allows a 14-year-old boy, all by himself in the basement, to replay the entire schedule of the 1980 Royals and thus allow George Brett to hit .408 instead of .390 (not that I ever did any such thing).
22. The immortal Willie (Pops) Stargell, former spring training instructor for the Braves, in which capacity I once observed him leaning on a batting cage, at Remote Practice Field Q, taking a standing 20-minute nap behind highway-patrol sunglasses as 17-year-olds with triple-digit uniform numbers shagged flies in 96[degree] heat. When I shook Pops from his coma to ask him for an interview, he jerked to life and abruptly blurted, "Can't! Gotta work! Gotta work, work, work!"
23. The word fungo.
24. The fact that coaches dress exactly as the players do, a custom unique to baseball (for which I am extremely grateful, as I am watching, at this very moment, the Georgia State basketball team coached by Lefty Driesell).
25. The mullet, also known as the Kentucky Waterfall, worn by John Kruk during his playing days with the Phillies.
26. Using your car key to dimple the chads on a dozen All-Star ballots at once.
27. The whole hotfooting, loogie-hawking, sign-giving, cap-tugging, cup-adjusting, Leo Mazzone-rocking, genitalia-scratching grand opera that precedes every single inconsequential pitch of every single inconsequential game.
28. Fenway and Wrigley, which will be united in heaven to form a single paradise of unearthly delights, known to all who enter it as Frigley. Or maybe Fengley.
29. The multicolored mosaic of my home team's pocket schedule, 162 tiles in red and blue and white and gray, and every square pregnant with possibility.