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Ten Foot Mailbag: Why Do Grown Men Bring Their Gloves To Games?

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Fans reach for a foul ball in Seattle. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Fans reach for a foul ball in Seattle. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Hey, Curt Schilling—ha! Schaden—damn—freude. You who spoke out before against government putting its icky, sticky fingers in the business of freedom-loving American entrepreneurs actually asked the government for money to get your video game company off the ground, then crapped the bed, then asked for more government help before the company finally died.

I am not laughing at the about 400 people who are now without a job because of your stupidity and hypocrisy. You’re an awful person who for too long has considered himself some sort of demigod. Hopefully now you finally go away, silent and bleeding out from your Achilles heel.

On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited:

why do people over the age of twelve bring a mitt to a baseball game? #tfmb—@dharn55

Because they’re sad human beings.

Fangraphs broke down the odds of catching a ball at a baseball game a few years ago, and they’re understandably pretty much against you to do so. This guy better play the lottery .

I’ve never caught one. The closest I came was my very first Cubs game as a young lad when Hector Villanueva put one in the left field bleachers a few feet in front of me vs. the Montreal Expos.

While as a child I would have killed to catch a foul ball or homer, I want absolutely nothing to do with one now. First of all, I haven’t tried to catch a baseball in about fifteen years; therefore, if a fly ball came to me, I would inevitably drop it and look like a complete invalid in the process… and with my luck, on camera too.

Also, I don’t care to have a stupid baseball. What am I going to do with it? Put it on a shelf in my house and show it off to visitors? “And on your left next to my autographed picture of Vlade Divac, you’ll see the foul ball I snagged off the bat of Koyie Hill.”

Bringing a glove to a game as an adult means you desire to catch and keep a ball. It also means you’re a huge loser. I believe that all balls that go into the stands should be given to children. If you’re a grownup and catch one, high-five your friend, pose for the camera, and then find the nearest youngster to hand it over to. This is non-negotiable.

As you’re not then keeping the ball, you don’t need a mitt because it’s of no consequence if you don’t catch it. It also makes you look like you’re on the equivalent of the boating trip from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Grow up, dorks.

you sir are a philistine if you truly believe The Great Gatsby is overrated. One of the best novels ever written.—@BudsonConvo16

No, it’s not.

I will admit some emotional scarring factors in to my assessment here. When I was a junior in high school and my English class was about halfway through the novel, during a class discussion I proposed the possibility that Gatsby is gay. Completing the novel, I learned he isn’t (sorry for spoiling), but during that class discussion my teacher—a vile woman whom I hope is no longer in the profession—immediately shut me down. Not a chance, no way, be quiet.

I persisted and pointed out textual evidence (which was probably mostly stereotypical stuff, but hey, I was 16 and my worldview was pretty limited), but the witch kept telling me I was wrong and tried her best to suffocate a literary exploration—albeit a touchy subject—that a child was opening a door to. She failed. My theory rippled through the class and one by one several of my classmates began to side with me, and Nurse Ratchet lost control of the discussion and ultimately the class. We didn’t like each other before Gatsby. We hated each other after Gatsby.

When studying to be a teacher, I made it a maxim of my vocational philosophy to never, ever toss aside a student’s argument or theory or proposition about art if it is not completely irrational or if the student can present evidence in support. There are no absolutes when interpreting literature, and it’s because of my willingness to entertain ideas from kids trying to actually learn instead of crapping all over them just because those ideas may be controversial or proven wrong later in the reading that even after teaching a novel five times I learn something new about it from my students every time and learn to look at it a different way.

Back to the novel’s overratedness (that’s a word because I say it is). Listverse, whose m.o. is compiling Top 10 lists, ranks F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as the third most overrated novel ever. According to the people over there:

“This book went out of print for nearly three decades. Yeah, Fitzgerald was that important. Then almost thirty years after the rest of the world moved on, two professors wrote a ton of academic papers about Fitzgerald’s “brilliance” in the 1960′s and this book was put back into print to be taught in every high school in the nation. You can almost hear the recurring groans of every student who has ever wondered how this lame rehashed soap opera was ever brought out of printing banishment.”

That’s what it is—a soap opera, and I won’t bore readers with a full-blown analysis of the novel. I just have a hard time identifying with or feeling sorry for “rich people problems,” and most high schoolers do, too. You’re welcome to enjoy the novel. I just don’t think it’s near the top of the American literary canon. That’s the beauty of art, though—to each his own, and debate about it is healthy.

Do you say [your last name] like Doug [Buffone]’s last name without the N?—@NickDevlin

No, and I’m really glad you asked this. With the start of the fourth annual Score Search contest (register now to become the next me… except you’ll be on the air and maybe respected by an audience), the on-air microphone deities have begun to read promos for it and graciously mention the past winners. Problem is many of the on-air guys don’t know me personally.

For my entire life, anyone reading my name aloud has pronounced it as rhyming with Willem Dafoe’s. They will continue pronounce it that way unless I let them know it’s “BAF-o.”

Interesting (actually, not really) story about my surname. While I look painfully Irish, I am also of Italian heritage. “Baffoe” was originally “Baffo” when my great-grandparents came to this country from Calabria, Italy. The name means “mustache,” which was fitting when meeting my great-grandmother. My grandfather added an “e” to the name at some point and in doing so unknowingly gave my family one of the more common names in the country of Ghana. I didn’t become aware of this until the power of social media took hold and I began getting friend requests on Facebook from all these black people with my last name. What’s great, though, is that after chatting many times with several Ghanaian Baffoes I’ve made “friends” with some of the nicest people ever. I’ve even been mailed gifts from there and been invited to a wedding in Ghana that I had to turn down because I don’t make Connor McKnight money.

So, again, my name is pronounced “BAF-o,” even though my dad pronounces it like Defoe on the phone because using the correct pronunciation sounds like “Basso.” Take-out receipts from restaurants proved that. An acting professor of mine in college (I began as a Theatre major. I’m told I have a good speaking and singing voice) told me I should change it to “Boffo.” He also couldn’t say the word without making a very effeminate exploding hands gesture, so I politely declined.

At least my great-grandparents weren’t Eastern European.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to tenfootmailbag@gmail.com or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Why Do Grown Men Bring Their Gloves To Games?

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at tenfootmailbag@gmail.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.

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