|Lo! The Poor Player... 1885 |
The Hard Lot of the Men Who Toss the Ball for a Living
From the Buffalo Commercial - Old Newspaper Clipping from 1885 - actual wording and spelling as follows:
The 'Buffalo Commercial' man thus wittily portrays the ways of life of the average ball player.
The base ball season has closed and about 200 professional ball tossers became gentlemen of leisure for the next six months. The professional ballist has a hard time. He rises every morning at 10 o'clock, takes a snug breakfast in the cafe, reads the Metropolitan newspapers, strolls out in the corridors and smokes a Reina Victoria, takes a nap before dinner, dines at 2 o'clock and strolls out to the ball field at 3 o'clock, takes a little exercise for a couple of hours, returns for supper, smokes again, and goes to the theatre in the evening, with his girl and, of course, draws his salary - oh, the ball tosser never forgets that.
And is he paid handsomely for working himself to death in this way? Yes, altogether too handsomely. His income, compared with that of others in the same stratum of society, is simply princely. The small boy worships him, the young girls dote on him, and his friends and neighbors look upon him as immense , perfectly elegant, the howlingest kind of a swell.
Yes, the professional ballist has a tough time. Two hours a day for twenty-four days in a month and five months in a year this elegant creature has to play ball - something everybody knows is a great deal harder than ploughing or shoveling coal.
It is, really, very hard to stand up on a beautiful grass lawn about one hour and watch for flies, or sit down on the bench for the other half of the game and admire others watching for flies. That's pretty tough.
It saps a man's vitality, too, to stand at home plate three times a day and swing a base ball bat in the air in the vain hope of hitting something. That's positively fatigueing, not only to the striker, but to the people in the grand stand.
And after all, this work is done comes the most tireless thing of all, taking a bath in the dressing room. That's almost cruel. It breaks up the average ball tosser quicker than anything else - he's so unaccustomed to water.
All in all, the life of a ballist is not a happy one. He's criticised by the newspapers and hissed at by the spectators in the grand stand. He's sensitive, very sensitive - men of refined natures are apt to be.
But for the next six months he will have nothing to do but heal his wounded heart and nurse his battered hands.
And when next spring the robins nest again he will come out from his winter quarters fat and sleek, wholly satisfied with himself, having new spheres to conquer and other hearts to win.'
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