On the virtual [afternoon.sup.8, 1974] our intrepid vacationer [[Smith.sub.927534].sup.20] beamed (1) down to the Baseball Planet. (2) In this instance, we may consider the term "down" a relative one, inasmuch as the universe has no "up" or "down." One may also regard with caution the terms "afternoon," and "April 8, 1974," but more of this later.
On organic planets, most human activity happens on the outer surface. When one looks upward, one also looks outward, from the surface to the universe, to the stars, the heavens, etc. On artificial planets manufactured by Patriotic Planets, Inc., the technology of artificial gravity requires that activity occur on the inner surface of the outer shell. Thus, to look "up" means to look inward, toward the center of the sphere. Here, engineers have created a blazing sun, blue sky, clouds, lightning, rain, or moon, stars, and other effects by means of holographic technology, static electricity, liquid nitrogen, and an old garden hose that had suffered extensive chewing by the [[Jones.sub.1090].sup.15] family dog.
The technology of artificial [gravity.sup.2250] evolved from the 21st century near-earth space stations, which generated gravity through centrifugal force. (3) Such primitive disk-shaped space stations (grandiosely hyped as "planets") had earth-standard gravity at their circumference. As one moved inward, gravity grew weaker. People of high status occupied the circumference, where they experienced "normal" gravity. Those of lower status, known as the gravity disadvantaged, lived and worked closer to the center of rotation.
In those [days.sup.2100s], the question of unequal distribution of gravity became a political hot potato, and this stimulated the development of the spherical, equal-gravity, artificial planets we enjoy [now.sup.2250]. The then politically correct avoided jokes about sagging flesh (the result of "normal" gravity, a sign of high status, and a long-standing subject for the low-gravity sit-down comedian). (4) [Editor's [note.sup.2250]: during an earlier period of rabid gender-free political correctness on planet Earth, the population almost disappeared, because to indulge in reproductive acts meant to imply that the other party had a gender of some description.]
The entrepreneurs who conceived of Baseball [Planet.sup.2250] modeled it after the theme parks of twentieth century earth. Inasmuch as they own Baseball Planet, they make such laws as they see fit. Without government or union interference, the owners hire and fire, grant work permits, import permits, oxygen permits, etc.
The planet exists for one activity: Baseball.
On the surface of the planet lie some 900 baseball parks, facsimiles of those of 20th century North America. Certain replicas portray the same field at different dates, for example, Ebbets [Field.sup.April 5, 1913], the day it first opened to the public and the Dodger's young outfielder Casey Stengal hit an inside-the-park home run that beat the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees) 3 to 2. Another reproduction mimics Ebbets [Field.sup.February 23, 1960], when, the Brooklyn Dodgers having moved to Los Angeles, demolition of that much-loved edifice began.
Games emulate play-by-play those of the relevant historical period. Spectators wear clothes of that era. Choreographers base the plays on written, film, audio, and video records, and on interviews with players.
Each game begins with the planetary anthem, "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," when all stand, remove their caps, and cover their popcorn. In one ball park you'll find virtual game Yankee [Stadium.sup.September 30,1927] when Babe Ruth breaks his own 1921 record and hits his 60th single-season home run. In another park you can watch Roger [Maris.sup.September 26,1961] hit his 60th single-season homer, tying with Babe Ruth. If you run for an overground shuttle, you can make it to another park in time to see Roger [Maris.sup.October 1, 1961] hit his 61st single-season home run, breaking Babe Ruth's 1927 record.
And this brings us to the particular genius of the Baseball Planet entrepreneurs. They didn't use the electromechanical puppetry of the twentieth-century theme parks. The entrepreneurs produced a stable of thousands of unpaid nonunion minor and major league players through cloning.
The epidemic of grave robbing that occurred on planet Earth in the early 2200s in order to secure DNA for cloning caused protests among certain environmental groups, but no one of importance took notice. From the DNA of one player, the genetic engineers would produce many clones: a youngish Babe Ruth for the games of the recreated 1920s, an older Babe Ruth for the 1930s, and so on. In addition, they would produce 10 clones of the same age, so that some could rest while others played, thus allowing continuous games and further increasing profits. [Note.sup.2250]: A player cremated or lost at sea leaves no body; in these instances detectives tracked down DNA specimens in a lock of hair in an old photograph album, in bits of dandruff in a baseball cap, or in detritus in certain supportive athletic apparel.
For a time, players would indulge in violent fights. One clone would say, "I am Ty Cobb." Another done would say, "I am Ty Cobb." And fists, bats, spiked shoes, and teeth would fly, causing much maiming and death. Inasmuch as both clones had grown from DNA from the original Ty Cobb, one could not fault their argument. Owners stopped such fights by passing the law of non-identity, and requiring the use of index numbers and E-Prime. (5) (6) Thus a clone could say, "I go by the label Ty [Cobb.sub.101]," and another could say "I go by the label Ty [Cobb.sub.45]" without engendering the wrath of the other.
Some clones sued for the right to die, claiming they couldn't stand the boredom of playing the same games over and over again. The owners cited the notorious reserve clause which said that, since the owners had given life to said clones, only the owners had the right to chose when clones could die. Since the owners owned the courts, the players never won a case. When players committed suicide, the owners simply cloned more.
This [year.sup.2250], as more and more players grow frustrated with their legal battle for the right to die, the clones have hatched a conspiracy to blow up the entire planet and thereby destroy all their DNA. (Hence the need to put these events in past historical records before the possible destruction of our planet occurs.)
Learning of this conspiracy, the owners have formed a plan to transfer a batch of back-up DNA to another planet.
Into this seething situation wanders our intrepid vacationer, [[Smith.sub.927534].sup.20], in search of a pleasant evening's diversion eating popcorn and hot-dogs, watching a virtual baseball recreation of Atlanta's 1974 home opener when Henry Arron breaks Babe Ruth's lifetime record of 714 home runs.
Meanwhile on planet [Earth.sup.2250], unconcerned with salary caps, owners, ticket sales, baseball strikes, anti-trust laws, statistics, symbols, or "national pastimes," some urban kids of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds get together with an old chewed-up wooden bat and a scuffed and dirty Spalding ball, and begin hitting that ball around a sandlot just for the fun of hearing the crack of leather against ash, of watching a ball dwindle as it flies in a high arc, of hearing the slap of ball against glove, of stealing home, of sliding headlong to third base, of knocking a long high ball all the way across the river at the bottom of the ninth, with two strikeouts and the bases loaded, for the pure, experiential, unmeditated, non-verbal, real-time, unspeakable joy of actual [baseball.sup.now].
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. beamed/beamer: Pertaining to an up-market 4-person BMW space shuttle much favored by young upstart Patriotic Planets Inc., employee sycophants.
2. For details of Baseball Planet, see ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer 1995, pp. 134-138.
3. Although local planetary law states that humans consume gravity as a privilege, not a right, the Affirmative Faction attempted to redress unequal opportunity for gravity by providing the gravity disadvantaged with free stamps for adhesive boots. For technical reasons, this scheme failed, and those who claim gravity entitlement continue to protest.
4. Life aboard the hollow Baseball Planet, which becomes particularly dismal during prolonged power cuts, gave rise to morbid jokes about the law of the excluded middle, until the Free Speech Board banned such jokes on the grounds that they scared tourists away.
5. E-Prime: A method of degrading the English language by banning "to be" verbs. (See below.)
6. E-Prime: A method of upgrading the English language by banning "to be" verbs. (See above.)
6.1. E-Grunt: A method of destroying E-Prime by banning the English language. (See elsewhere.)
Paul Dennithorne Johnston, Executive Director of ISGS, loves baseball movies.
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|Title Annotation:||imaginary planet|
|Author:||Johnston, Paul Dennithorne|
|Publication:||ETC.: A Review of General Semantics|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1995|
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