Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pitchers and catchers reporting soon...

Furthermore, koching in sports is not chassidish. So, if a sport requires you to koch in it (follow the statistics of certain players, etc.) in order to enjoy it, since on the face value, there is no action going on, the sport itself is not chassidish. And since chassidishkeit is a measure of perfection of all things... well, there you go.

Someone recently wrote the above comment to attempt to prove that soccer was better than baseball and football. This person's argument appears to be that all sports are bad, but soccer is slightly better than other sports because it takes no particular ability or intelligence to understand the game. Furthermore it is posited that "chassidishkeit" is the measure of perfection of all things, and if soccer comes closer to the ideals of "chassidishkeit" than anything else then it must be the best sport.

This argument is specious for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's stated that being involved in sports is not chassidish, but there is no attempt to prove that is true; the author merely states his opinion and then proceeds to his flawed conclusion based on that premise. The author compounds this faulty logic by ascertaining that "chassidishkeit is the measure of perfection of all things", a completely baseless opinion that has no bearing in reality.

In short, opining that baseball is not chassidish because there's a certain interest in statistics is a fallacious argument that merely belies soccer's own extreme tear-inducing boredom. Baseball, on the contrary, has tension before, during, and after every pitch, as opposed to soccer which has a bunch of guys doing wind sprints and kicking each other's shins. Baseball's statistic's driven culture results in a truly intelligent way to judge the game and its players, as opposed to soccer, which relies on emotions and things like "beauty" to measure its performance. As everyone knows, the true measure of "chassidishkeit" is how it relates to chassidus, and since chassidus equals Chabad, it's obvious that intellectual appreciation is what is valued, i.e. baseball, not the emotionally charged game of soccer. Baseball appreciates the brain, allowing it to exercise its considerable talents, much like Chabad Chassidus, unlike soccer, which is just a bunch of guys running around do wind sprints and kicking a ball.

86 comments:

Yossi said...

so which do you like more- soccer or baseball? I don't think you made it very clear in your post

sarabonne said...

I used to play soccer in middle school, this one girl on the opposing team had a nasty habit of kicking people in the shins. The resulting bruises were both colorful and painful.
Just thought you should know.

e said...

The defundamentalization continues. TRS is now saying that chasidishkeit's alleged superiority has no bearing in reality.

If this trend continues, maybe I can take you out to lunch one day. I nice some nice places near my school.

e said...

The defundamentalization continues. TRS is now saying that chasidishkeit's alleged superiority has no bearing in reality.

If this trend continues, maybe I can take you out to lunch one day. I nice some nice places near my school.

e said...

subscribing

The Real Shliach said...

Yossi: Am I Chabad or Chagas?

Sara: This is what happens when you play the "beautiful" game.

e: "chassidishkeit" has no bearing in reality. Even if it did, it would be attending baseball games.

Also, I'd love to go out to lunch with you- there are some great places near my work...

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
One of the best pieces you've written - in fact, I would suggest that this could constitute an ideal topic for a lengthy academic-type paper. Two points - the obsession with baseball statistics, I suggest, has more to do with the American psyche than the game. Americans like to have things neatly quantified (for example, in the theme of my opening, in American academia, the number of publications is more important than the quality of one's publications when it comes to promotion or appointment to a position). Second, commentators and writers on test cricket, a far more complex and intelligent game than baseball, while discussing statistics are able to appreciate, and write about, the "beauty" (read style, skill, etc.) of the game. A duel (both intellectual and physical and sometimes lasting for hours) between a top batsman and skillful spin or reverse-swing bowlers far exceeds (steroid-induced?) home runs. So, if you're going to analogize sport to chassidus, cricket is your game. Neatly driving to silly mid-off, LdT.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S. Not often that I comment twice but I wanted to follow-up on your question from yesterday. The point made in "Portrait of an Artist" was that when a sin is committed in this world, and recognized by the sinner, there exists the opportunity to repent. However, at least in their system, once that opportunity is lost (i.e., death without repenting) all chance of repentance and restitution is lost - one must spend eternity realising the consequences of one's sin, bearing the guilt as it were, but never ever having the chance to repent and thereby relieve onself of that burden. Nervously, LdToot.

Sebastion said...

I love soccer! eternety realizing the cosequences of ones sins? someones been reaing a little too much NT

Yehuda said...

FWIW, many soccer teams now hire companies who look at advanced stats to analyze their players.

Even the causal fan will now be exposed to stats like pass completion, the distance each players has run and other bits of math that a few years ago had not been thought of being mentioned.

So if the American love for all things numbered is anything to go by (it's not just baseball, see Rating, QB), then American sports are definitely the Chassidish games. Instead of keeping their math confined to their sport, they have spread it out to others - even to those they claim to loathe.

And as Bill James said, "test cricket will end when the wellsprings of wOBA and UZR are spread to the outside."

Crawling Axe said...

This person's argument appears to be that all sports are bad, but soccer is slightly better than other sports because it takes no particular ability or intelligence to understand the game. Furthermore it is posited that "chassidishkeit" is the measure of perfection of all things, and if soccer comes closer to the ideals of "chassidishkeit" than anything else then it must be the best sport.

Well, if you’re going to make a straw-man argument... I did not say that soccer is the best sport. I only compared it to baseball. I can see why people might think rugby, hockey, basketball, boxing or tennis are fun. I can even see why they might think that football is fun. I personally prefer soccer, but, let’s say, I am sitting in a doctor’s office, and there is a game on TV — I can enjoy any of the above sports, without knowing anything about the teams. If baseball is on, I feel like I am being tortured by Vogons. Now, of course, if I knew the finer subtleties and context of Vogon poetry... but why would I start doing something like that l’hatchilo?

Plus, you’re basing your assumption on the fact that soccer is boring. That is why the whole world plays soccer (including US), right? As opposed to baseball which is only played by US and the countries US culturally colonized: Canada, Mexico and Japan. Now, if it had to do with something intelligent, like music, I would say something like: ad numerum is a fallacy, etc. But we are talking about fun. Clearly, more people worldwide consider soccer to be fun than soccer.

Regarding involving in sports being unchassidish — of course it is. Bittul Torah, association of oneself with goyish culture that is not superficial but touches one’s emotions, etc. It is similar to following fashions, which Alter Rebbe said is klipah (for men, at least). I am not talking about playing sports yourself with your buddies. Or watching an occasional game. I am talking about following sports closely.

Regarding baseball vs. soccer: as we know from Tanya, when a person immerses himself in secular knowledge, it’s much worse than when he makes idle chatter, because any fool can do the latter, and therefore it does only superficial damage, while the former requires you to use your faculties of chochma and bina, poisoning your soul much deeper.

So, if you watch a sport that requires you to keep track of it over long time, and otherwise, it’s no fun, then obviously it does much more damage than a sport which by itself is interesting to watch, whether or not you follow the team.

Of course, none of this applies to baseball, where the only intelligence is psychological play between the guy who throws the ball and the guy who hits it with a stick. In soccer, you have more intelligence in a single penalty kick. As far as the skills, in baseball you need to hit a ball with a stick, throw a ball and run fast. Need I mention that there is almost zero team play? I’d rather watch tennis. Or golf. At least in the latter there is no pretense.

As to chassidishkeit and perfection, well, Chassidus Chabad = etzem haTorah. Torah = Will and Wisdom of Hashem. Hashem = perfection. Need I say more?

Anyway, I am disappointed as to the response.

Crawling Axe said...

on the idea*

The Real Shliach said...

LtD: On your first point: I agree that Americans are obsessed with statistics, but baseball as a sport is uniquely qualified to be obsessed with. Which other sport, even American, can be so quantified? One of the big problems for football historians, for example, is that the rules keep changing, meaning that it's extremely difficult to compare players outside their era. There have been very few fundamental changes to baseball (excepting times like the dead ball era), so much so that the top three homerun hitters of all time played in completely different eras-same goes for pitching stats...

Point two: cricket is good, I agree, but "far more complex and intelligent"? Greater one than I would have to argue that one out.

Point three: And this is where Lipa comes in: "I'm so proud to be a Jew!"

Sebastion: you would.

If you had paid attention to the previous comments, you would realize that yours was very silly.

Yehuda: the fact that many teams are now hiring companies to make up statistics just shows how far removed the basic game is from the basic (statistic interested) fan. Yes, I appreciate that soccer is a complex game with just as much strategy as, say, auto racing or basketball, but it's just not like baseball with its wealth of information. Even before the positive opening of the wellsprings in the last twenty odd years (James, Bill), there was plenty of stats- and look where all the new numbers are coming from- fans, not companies.

Football doesn't have nearly the numbers aspect as baseball. In baseball, every player on the team has a whole statistical universe surrounding them. In football, this can be said about... the QB (and the QB rating has been shown by greater people than I to be a poor judge of quarterbacking), the various running backs, wide recievers, maybe a catching tight end, and... What about the 5 offensive lineman- fully half the team with the ball has no meaningful statistical analysis (and don't tell me 40 yard dashes are meaningful statistical dashes)! The defense is even more shaded in the depths of mathematical ignorance. If QBs never throws against a certain shutdown corner, and consequently that corner has no meaningful stats, does that mean that the corner is no good? Aderabe! The only way, however, to tell if he's good is to analyze game film. The same thing goes for most positions- there's no way to tell what they're contributing to the football team as a whole without watching copious amounts of film. This is what makes the pro bowl so ridiculed- most of the players make it their based on reputation, because there's no meaningful way to judge them except through extensive research. This is not like baseball, where every player's contributions can be easily deduced from a box score.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: I'll get to you later.

Crawling Axe said...

Can’t wait.

I think you might enjoy horse racing. There is nothing inherently interesting about it (obviously, one of the horses will end up running faster than the other... nu...), unless you know the statistics of each horse and the jockey. Furthermore, Rebbeim were known to go to horse racing, so at least you’ll have some excuse (although, not much).

Eli said...

TRS - I like this post.

Sarabonne - that's why there are shin pads. :)

The Real Shliach said...

CA: after reading your response once again I discovered no rational points that I could possibly respond to (it's impossible to argue with a mad man...). The only point that I found to be mildly engaging was the one regarding the doctor's office. If I have a choice between a random soccer game and a random baseball game, well, there really is no choice involved. Without an intimate knowledge of the sport, it's impossible to follow the soccer game. How can you possibly know what's going on (besides for the most basic, i.e. what the score is) without having followed both teams for many months? Baseball, on the other hand, clearly presents the relevant statistics with each at bat, and it's obvious to even the most ungifted what exactly is happening, why it's happening, and what will be happening. Sure, you can watch soccer and wait for someone to score a goal, but to actually appreciate the game?

Obviously, anyone who disagrees with the above is particularly ungifted and should see a qualified neuroscientist within the next two weeks.

re: horse racing: this "sport" is even less interesting than basketball or soccer. Hard to believe, but it's true.

Eli: thank you.

Crawling Axe said...

Re: madness: nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit.

Re: office: I rest my case.

Re: baseball: I wash my hands.

Re: soccer: I wash my feet.

Re: qualified neuroscientist: Why would one see a qualified neuroscientist? So that he can find out more about how brain works?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Soccer is holier than baseball because you can play it without leaving the bais medrash.

(It can get you in serious trouble, but it can be done)

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Soccer is holier than baseball because you can play it without leaving the bais medrash.

(It can get you in serious trouble, but it can be done)

Dovid said...

1. I remember a sicha where the Rebbe makes mention of baseball and I remember stories where the Rebbe uses baseball as a mashal for avoidas Hashem. Soccer is ignored by chassidus because it is antithetical to everything chassidus stands for.

2. Ohalei Torah has a basketball court but not soccer field.

3. Rabbi Wenger played basketball.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Great wisdom?

Qualified neuroscientists cost less than psychiatrists.

Modeh: You can't play baseball in the Beis Medrash? I beg to differ!

Dovid: Right on!

Crawling Axe said...

I distinctly remember reading the Rebbe’s moshol of soccer for something. Like, how to get ahead in life, necessity of teamwork, those kind of things. (The ones you don’t get in baseball, since there is no teamwork, and after a lot of running, you end up where you started.)

Anyway, the Rebbe was talking to an American audience. Had his audience was primarily Russian, he would never use an example of a sport l’hatchilo.

Crawling Axe said...

After a little googling, Dovid, I am so glad you made that comment.

First of all, there is a rendition of the Rebbe’s sicho specifically about soccer by Yanki Tauber’s here.

But there is something even more interesting. There is an interesting (and potentially scary) book, called Listening to Life’s Messages. Now, in that book there is a message about soccer, quoted from an actual sicho by the rebbe: here. At the same time, there are two (!) messages about baseball: here and here.

The interesting thing is: in both mosholim about baseball, the Rebbe says nothing specifics about the game itself (unlike the soccer, which he says is the "best" example for one’s avoida and gives particular examples from the game’s elements). In both cases the Rebbe uses baseball as an example of a competitive sport, but any other sport could be used in this case. It just seems the Rebbe has nothing to say about baseball’s specific dynamics as a game, because... there is nothing to say.

Dovid said...

1. I can't seem to remember a time when a baseball player made a kiddush Hashem by not playing on Yom Kippur.

2. Im sure they play soccer in ponovitch.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: That's only because the Rebbe, being Russian, didn't fully appreciate baseball, though he obviously viewed it as the best example of a competitive sport.

Dovid: Sandy Koufax?

Dovid said...

I can't seem to remember a time when a soccer* player made a kiddush Hashem by not playing on Yom Kippur.

Crawling Axe said...

TRS: The Rebbe gazed into O"LT but could not appreciate baseball? If the Rebbe did not appreciate something, there was nothing to appreciate. Also, nice move calling the Rebbe “Russian”.

Aderabe, because he was speaking to limited Americans, he had to use the mosholim they would comprehend.

Dovid: 1. So?
2. They also learn Gemara in Ponovitch. Should Hashem destroy His Universe because fools worship stars, moon and the sun?

e said...

CA: where'd you get all this latin from?

Crawling Axe said...

Some of these I know, because I took Latin in college when I was in high school. But mostly from here.

Omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.

The Real Shliach said...

Dovid: Quite.

CA: True. Obviously, he appreciated it, but it's on such a high level that he couldn't explain it to his lowly chassidim (i.e., the Russian ones).

Crawling Axe said...

I am sure the Rebbe saw Atzmus in pork too. Doesn’t mean it is my job to mess with pork.

Crawling Axe said...

Btw, as I said before, there is a good reason why Chassidus Chabad started in Russia; MO started in the US and Reform Judaism started in Germany.

The Real Shliach said...

Baseball=pork? Typical Russian hyperbole.

Crawling Axe said...

Calling something "typical Russian" is a typical American stereotyping.

The Real Shliach said...

If only I were JFK and you little Nicky...

Crawling Axe said...

Who's Nicky?

JFK the airport or JFK the president?

The Real Shliach said...

Никита Сергеевич Хрущёв

Crawling Axe said...

Nicky = Nicholas (or Nikolay), not Nikita.

I don't know I could be ever be Khruschyov. I don't like corn that much (and currently cannot even eat corn on the cob).

I'd rather be Mikhalkov.

The Real Shliach said...

What about popcorn?

Crawling Axe said...

A super-chossid like me? Chv"sh!

The Real Shliach said...

What about a pseudo-chossid? Or do all pseudo-chassidim have braces?

Crawling Axe said...

All pseudo-chassidim brace themselves.

Btw, I just realized why I’ve been kicked out of every library in every city I’ve ever lived in. Since books affect me more than movies, by me, a library is more of avoida zara than movie theaters. This is a fourth clear case of hashgacha protis in my life.

The Real Shliach said...

All of them do it in the mouth? Or perhaps with suspenders? (very chassidish btw)

Who has kicked you out?

Crawling Axe said...

The first sentence is a clear example of how all written things need to be taken in the context.

The last time I wore suspenders I also wore a Tzivos Hashem kipa.

All the libraries kicked me out.

The Real Shliach said...

It is?

Nu, it's a good look...

Really? How so?

Crawling Axe said...

Yes.

Maybe.

Fines.

e said...

it wasn't hp. it was shlimazelshaft on your part.

Crawling Axe said...

It was hp that I was a shlemazl in this area.

The Real Shliach said...

you can't blame hp for your problems!

Crawling Axe said...

Problems? I was prevented from entering makom klipah!

Crawling Axe said...

Makom tumah?

Probably both.

The Real Shliach said...

You could still go there, you just can't take anything out. Besides, is it ethical to rack up huge fines at a library? And isn't a big chilul Hashem for (even) a (pseudo) chassid to rack up fines at a library?

Crawling Axe said...

I don’t have time to sit in the library and read books. See e-mail for more personal info.

It’s not unethical, because I didn’t steal anything or damage anyone. Trust me: the books I borrow are not very popular.

Nobody knows that I am a chossid from my name.

The Real Shliach said...

OK.

So you returned them eventually? Anyway, it doesn't matter if they're popular or not, if it's unethical it's unethical.

Same thing goes. They might not know, but G-d certainly knows.

Crawling Axe said...

It’s not unethical, if I am not causing anyone damage. I am not causing anyone damage, if nobody is interested in this particular book.

Chillul Hashem is a public thing, no? Anyway, since nothing unethical happened, no chillul Hashem.

Crawling Axe said...

In any event, you’re forgetting that a much bigger sin happened when I entered that din of iniquity called “library” in the first place. Seeing a frum Jew enter a public place of tumah — now, that’s a chillul Hashem (and no banana would help this time).

The Real Shliach said...

First of all, how do you know no one was interested in that book?

Secondly, you're causing yourself damage by behaving unethically. You're causing yourself even more damage by not acknowledging that your behavior is unethical.

And what are you doing to purge yourself of this sin?

Crawling Axe said...

I am notified if someone is interested in a particular book. But mainly, the books I check out are very esoteric. Plus, if a book was published in 2001 and in 2006 nobody has checked it out yet, the chances are, it’s not the most popular book.

That would be true if I were to sin. In this case I have not.

I am not paying back those fines, if that’s what you’re asking. And I have eluded dea... I mean, library police more than once already.

The Real Shliach said...

If even one person was prevented from reading that book...

We'll have to disagree on that one then.

You're not paying the fines? Shocking.

Libraries have special police?

Crawling Axe said...

... if he was a Jew, I did him a favor. If he was a goy, who cares?

Oh well.

I am a very ethical person. I don’t subscribe to tyranny of totalitarian regimes, however.

Library police was one of the first departments of KGB formed. Three of Reb Mender Futerfas’s cellmates were sitting for extensive library fines.

The Real Shliach said...

Why is it ok for you to read this book and not him?

If that sentence was seen by a non-Jew...

You consider the library to be a totalitarian regime? In fact, it seems like you rape the library for as much as you can and then discard it like a used gold fish. Does the phrase "Love of Amnon and Tamar" mean anything to you?

Oh, really.

e said...

how does one discard a used goldfish?

Crawling Axe said...

It’s not.

Putting the level of intelligence displayed in this comment post, it wouldn’t matter much.

I do nothing of the sort with either libraries or gold fish.

Maybe.

The Real Shliach said...

e: Generally down the toilet bowl.

CA: Well, I guess that's why you're a pseudo-chossid.

Probably true.

I wasn't suggesting that you rape used gold fish. I was suggesting that you abuse the library system for as long as you can, and when they finally stop allowing you to do so, you treat them like a can of dog food.

Hmm...

Crawling Axe said...

That’s not the reason.

I don’t abuse library system. Libraries exist for people to lend books and return them when they are done with them. That is exactly what I do. They are the ones who abuse the library system. It’s like saying that if someone doesn’t pay taxes to an attacking Mongol (or liberal) horde, he is abusing the system.

In what circumstances does a concept of a “used gold fish” come up? How does a gold fish become used?

Crawling Axe said...

If doing things one is not supposed to do makes one a pseudo-chossid, then the Rebbetzin was right.

The Real Shliach said...

So it just makes you a hypocrite?

If you use their services, you have to play by their rules. They didn't come to you, offering you anything, you went to them, to use their services.

In many circumstances.

Use one. Then it's used.

Define: "Things", "Pseudo", "Chossid", and "Rebbitzen".

Crawling Axe said...

No.

I don’t have to play by their rules. They are a public library, whose sole purpose of existence is to serve me, their employer. The only obligation I have is not to infringe on the rights of other employers of the library.

They didn’t come to me? That’s sweet. They sent Obama in their stead to collect taxes from me to pay for their books and water fountains.

Use for what? “Used” implies termination of usability.

Or maybe I won’t but will say I have.

By the Rebbetzin I mean the Rebbetzin, the wife of the Rebbe.

The Real Shliach said...

Explain how that's not the case please.

You are infringing on other people's rights by abusing your privileges and destroying the social contract.

All eleven libraries you've accrued fines at were lending you books after Obama was sworn it?

So a used car is...?

Won't what?

OK, three to go.

Crawling Axe said...

We have digressed from the main topic.

I can’t imagine anyone speaking with such passion about baseball. And soccer...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrWF_K_veXU

The Real Shliach said...

I can. I see it all the time. Not in Russian though.

Crawling Axe said...

Aha!

Case closed.

The Real Shliach said...

Correct. Now that you've finally acknowledged that only insane Russians like soccer, we can discuss more edifying concepts.

Crawling Axe said...

I guess if the whole of world surface (where soccer is played) is occupied by Russians...

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh, if only people who weren't once members of the USSR weren't so delusional...

Crawling Axe said...

People who were deaf thought that people who were not were mad.

The Real Shliach said...

Yes, Russians are renowned for being hard of hearing, eh?

Crawling Axe said...

No.

The Real Shliach said...

Popcorn!

Crawling Axe said...

Define: "Things", "Pseudo", "Chossid", and "Rebbitzen".

There are several definitions for a pseudo-chossid that I use. One of them is what one of the TT’s chassidim wanted his einekel to become. A chossid due to a levush (community, shprach, etc.). Like my rabbi says: “A Lubavitcher is someone who wears a Bursolino, doesn’t wear jeans and is a racist.”

Another is someone who considers the Rebbe to be supreme authority on whether tzimtzum is kipshuto or loi kipshuto, but not on whether he should give teddy bears to his kids.

Another yet (similar to the first) is someone who considers the Rebbe (and Chassidus Chabad) a general inspiration in his life, Yiddishkeit, and avoida, but can’t be said to be completely bottul to the Rebbe, with emunah pshutah.

Combinations of the above are possible.

Crawling Axe said...

similar to the second*

Dovid said...

"Combinations of the above are possible."
Let me try one:
A Lubavitcher is someone who wears a denim borsalino and believes racism is loi kipshuto

Crawling Axe said...

Maybe in California. In CH, Lubavitchers are both black-hatters and Black-haters.

Dovid said...

ouch!

Crawling Axe said...

It was too good an opportunity (linguistically) to pass by. Also, because one time I described myself as one of the two categories, while meaning the other. Luckily, people knew me personally (and the fact that I am EFL) to know what I meant.