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Today we start our war, our peculiarly local, Maine-to-California war. The only thing it has in common with other wars is the propaganda element, but the shoe is on the other foot here, because this propaganda comes straight from the people, from their hearts. And you will be hearing it from cigar store to pool-room to barber shop to men's room. And Fridays you will hear it from the ladies, from now until October.
Since the last World Series there have been many "incidents" leading up to our war. For one simple thing, it has been ruled that the Yankees can't trade in their league. For another more complicated item, a certain Judge Landis, of the Kenesaw Mountain Landises (distant kin of the local, urban L.L.D. Landises) has TNECed the great monopoly mystery of chain store baseball and declared an army of free agents. For still one more, and this may prove most important of all, it has been decided that the pitchers may in delivering the ball take two steps with the other than their pivot foot--in other words one step back and then forward with the left foot for a right-handed hurler.
Why is this important? Well, many years ago "Home Run" Baker amassed the astounding total of twelve circuit clouts in a season. They cheered him and his blows. That was then. Last season fans who got up at the crack of a homer only did so because they ran out of peanuts and wanted attention for more, and bush league hitters suffered painful gastronomic ailments from trying to keep up with a breakfast food company which offered, a case of wunchy-munchies for every round-tripper.
Let us put it another way. In mid-season last year two pitchers met in a minor league game down in Beaumont, Texas. Their names were P. Dean and L. T. Rowe. Both were knocked out of the box. Five short years ago in the major leagues the lesser half of the great team of Me-and-Paul had pitched a no-hitter, and the acclaimed American "Schoolboy" had wrung up his unbeaten string of seventeen straight. Rowe is this year trying to come back, but Paul is done. Dizzy has joined Paul, to all intents and purposes. Hubbell, true, shows signs of a comeback, but Grove can twirl only once a week, and where is Eldon Auker? And what has happened to the two consecutive no-hit gamer, one J. Vander Meer of Cincinnati?
Limitations on the pitcher the hitter's ball, and what naturally followed--overwork--has doomed these great flingers. Committee after committee has honestly been after some system to de-rabbit the pellet and stop turning the game into cricket, but nothing has happened constructively. Perhaps this new pitching rule will help. We can only hope so. Because this is one war we want to keep.
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