Explaining Baseball to Aliens


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To: Galactic Consciousness Overlord, Version 17.6

From: Giles Dub
Assistant Researcher, 3rd Class
Subsection RU2BZ2C, Bureau of New Species,
Cultural Studies Department
Ministry of Intergalactic Affairs

Subject: Unclassified Planet Consciousness Memorandum

Greetings, Your Excellency!

On behalf of all 42,316 drones of Subsection RU2BZ2C, it gives me great pleasure to announce the completion of our fact-finding tour to Unclassified Planet IH82B2 Sirius—known to its inhabitants as "Earth."

As Your Excellency is surely aware, the Cultural Studies Department investigates the religious beliefs of all newly discovered species to determine the feasibility of their absorption into the Galactic Collective Consciousness. Unfortunately our recent study of the highly popular Earth-being religion Major League Baseball suggests that the planet's dominant species—a semi-gelatinous, endoskeletal, sexually-reproducing biped—is not sufficiently evolved for consciousness absorption. Nevertheless, we do believe the religion of baseball deserves more study, offering a, rare, fascinating look inside a primitive belief system.

Essentially, the religion of baseball is based on the hurling of a small, white orb that represents the sins of believers, and the attempt to expiate those sins by the ritualized touching of three small white squares. Two bands of warrior-priests wage an intricate, highly symbolic battle to see who can cleanse the most of their followers' sins.

Each sect has a high priest. He stands elevated atop a circular mound at the very heart of the temple, the sanctum sanctorum of, beneath which are buried his ancestors and martyrs to the faith. Hurling the white sphere, he thus symbolically accuses the entire community of some great wrongdoing, challenging them to defend themselves and their sacred honor.

A cleric from the opposing clan does just that. He holds a weapon, offering a defense by trying to strike the orb in the hopes of being allowed to progress through the series of small white squares and therefore disprove the accusation.

The ceremony is quite colorful. Thousands of worshipers along with hundreds of lesser priests, monks, scribes, merchants, guards and dispensers of sacrament fill vast pews surrounding the complex. Many of the faithful purchase devotional items: sacred texts, images of their favorite warrior-priests, or replica versions of their sacred vestments. Many will also devour truly copious amounts of sacraments, particularly those called "beer" and "barbeque." An especially stirring moment at the start of each Baseball service comes when the Earth creatures must remove their head-coverings, make an obscene gesture and drone in unison towards a large, rectangular piece of cloth—mostly likely as ritual taunting of enemy gods.

Although the Earth beings maintain thousands of baseball temples around their world, a mere 32 are considered sacred, all of them bunched in a relatively small part of the planet's surface. At one of these 32 special sites—the Kauffman Stadium temple complex—we can proudly inform His Excellency that researchers from Subsection 21946B became the first non-indigenous lifeforms ever to witness one of these exotic religious rites: "New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals."

In a rite perennially reenacted at the Kauffman Temple, the Kansas City Royal warrior-priests entered the temple's green sanctum sanctorum representing the gods of Home—of fidelity, devotion, purity, and truth. They are nobly born, of regal blood, but perpetually downtrodden. The New York warrior-priests, in contrast, play the role of Visitors, representing an alien force, The Other—the terrible destructive power of arrogance and greed. Yet, inexplicably, many of the Earth-creatures at the Kauffman Temple ceremonies support the Visitors, causing great distress for the Home believers, and creating tension in the pews where only fellowship should reign.

The ceremony is no less dramatic for being predictable. The New York faction thrashes the Home team, demonstrating the ultimate triumph of evil over good in the material world. Particularly diabolical at absolving sin, the Yankee priest named "13," also known as "A-Rod", hits three of the Royal accusations so far, they land in purification fountains outside the temple walls. In the final ritual of the night, the night's last and perhaps cruelest moment, 13 is surrounded by a much-hated pack of chroniclers and scribes, pestered and berated with endless, pointless questions to emphasize his wrongdoing—a harassment he always casually shrugs off with a grin.

In conclusion, Your Excellency, although the Earth creatures may be far too primitive for Galactic Consciousness assimilation, the galaxy could yet have much to learn from the Earth beings and their Baseball, and we sincerely hope you approve our request for more research. This beer and barbeque, for instance, could turn out to be a very important find.

With Warmest Possible Regards,

Giles Dub
Assistant Researcher, 3rd Class
Subsection RU2BZ2C, Bureau of New Species,
Cultural Studies Department
Ministry of Intergalactic Affairs

Presented by

Hampton Stevens is a writer based in Kansas City, Missouri. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, ESPN the Magazine, Playboy, Gawker, Maxim, and many more publications.

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