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story.lead_photo.caption AP FILE PHOTO/In this undated handout photo, Bud Abbott, right, and his partner Lou Costello, do their famous baseball sketch. Abbott and Costello were among 13 inductees announced by Gov. Jon S. Corzine Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

In the classic baseball comedy style of Abbott & Costello, this week GAME JOURNAL presents an imaginary dialogue between a baseball announcer and a delirious evil entity known as "Showstopper." They discuss the future of baseball with the Arkansas Activities Association suspending spring sports and imposing a dead period through April 17 in which no practice is allowed while the nation addresses the covid-19 crisis.

Announcer: Well, I'm not going to take you to Hot Springs. Mr. Showstopper, the athletic executive officer, granted me a special interview for as long as you encroach upon this season.

Showstopper: Look, during the dead period high school coaches can't be around any of the players.

Announcer: They certainly can't.

Showstopper: Well you know I've never been to a game. So you'll have to read me the roster, and then I'll know who's not playing this spring.

Announcer: Oh, don't you dare pronounce their names, but you know it'll drive you crazy when somebody hits a home run.

Showstopper: You could just go by positions?

Announcer: Strange days, no games...covid-19...

Showstopper: and my evil twin, swine flu.

Announcer: Son of a gun...

Showstopper: And my Chinese cousin.

Announcer: Chinese?

Showstopper: covid-19.

Announcer: Well, in the midst of this social distancing, Who swang first, after that Check Swing makes a broken bat single advancing to second, and there's No Play at third...

Showstopper: That's who that struck out.

Announcer: I say Who swang first. Check swing to second, there's No Play at third.

Showstopper: Are you the announcer?

Announcer: You betcha.

Showstopper: You going to be an armchair quarterback, too?

Announcer: Yeah.

Showstopper: And coaches can't call the player's phones?

Announcer: Well they're prohibited from practicing.

Showstopper: Well then who swang first?

Announcer: Yes.

Showstopper: Give me the batter's name.

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: The kid that swang first?

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: The leadoff hitter?

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: The kid swinging...?

Announcer: Who swang first!

Showstopper: I want to know who swang first?

Announcer: That's the kid's name.

Showstopper: That's who's name?

Announcer: Yes.

Showstopper: Do your job and inform us.

Announcer: I just did.

Showstopper: That's who?

Announcer: Yes.

Showstopper: Look, they got to have a leadoff hitter?

Announcer: Of course.

Showstopper: Who swang first?

Announcer: That was it.

Showstopper: When you announce the batting order every game, who's in the leadoff spot?

Announcer: Every time up.

Showstopper: Look, what I'm trying to find out is who swang first.

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: The kid that hits first...?

Announcer: That's him.

Showstopper: Was it a check swing or a foul? Who gets the call...?

Announcer: He does, every inning. Sometimes his phone buzzes in the dugout.

Showstopper: Who's phone?

Announcer: Yes. What's wrong with that?

Showstopper: Look, all I wanna know is when they bring up the top of the order, how does he swing his bat?

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: The kid?

Announcer: Who.

Showstopper: How does he swing...?

Announcer: That's how he swings his bat.

Showstopper: Who?

Announcer: Yes.

Showstopper: All I'm trying to find out is "who's the kid on first base?"

Announcer: No, he's out and Check Swing is at second base.

Showstopper: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Announcer: Who swang first.

Showstopper: One base at a time!

Announcer: Well, don't change the lineup order.

Showstopper: I'm not switching pitchers!

Announcer: Why don't you take a chill pill and go away?

Showstopper: I'm only asking you, who's the kid that swang first?

Announcer: That's him.

Showstopper: OK.

Announcer: That's right.

Showstopper: What's the kid's name that swang first?

Announcer: Check Swing at second.

Showstopper: I'm not asking you how he got to second.

Announcer: Who swang first.

Showstopper: There's no play at third.

Announcer: That's what happened, we're not talking about that.

Showstopper: Now how did he get on third base?

Announcer: During dead week coaches aren't supposed to mention his name.

Showstopper: If I mentioned anybody's name, who did I say is batting?

Announcer: No. Who swang first.

Showstopper: Who did a check swing?

Announcer: Check Swing's at second.

Showstopper: There's no play.

Announcer: He's on third.

Showstopper: Here we go again, back to third. Let's just stick with third base and don't cheat off it.

Announcer: All right, tell us what we want to know.

Showstopper: Now who's on third base?

Announcer: Why do you insist on placing Who on third base?

Showstopper: Who am I putting on third?

Announcer: No. Who struck out.

Showstopper: You don't want who on second?

Announcer: Who struck out.

Showstopper: I don't know.

Announcer: No Play at third!

Showstopper: Look, can these boys hit into the outfield?

Announcer: Sure.

Showstopper: The left hitter's name?

Announcer: Why.

Showstopper: I just thought I'd lazer him.

Announcer: Well, I prefer you didn't.

Showstopper: Then tell me who grounded into left field.

Announcer: Who struck out.

Showstopper: No way... I despise singles in the infield! I want to know who's the kid that singled off a broken bat?

Announcer: No, Check Swing is on second.

Showstopper: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Announcer: Who struck out!

Showstopper: I don't know.

Announcer: No Play at third!

Showstopper: The left fielder's name?

Announcer: Why?

Showstopper: Social distancing!

Announcer: Oh, he ground out to shortstop.

Showstopper: Tell me, who's pitching next game?

Announcer: When he's not hitting.

Showstopper: The pitcher's name?

Announcer: Tomorrow.

Showstopper: You don't want to present the lineup today?

Announcer: It's ready now.

Showstopper: Then spit it out!

Announcer: Tomorrow!

Showstopper: What inning?

Announcer: What inning when?

Showstopper: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?

Announcer: He's not in the rotation. Who is not pitching.

Showstopper: Better check your mic, you say who struck out! I want to know what about the check swing?

Announcer: Check Swing's on second.

Showstopper: I don't know.

Announcer: No Play at third!

Showstopper: Name the catcher?

Announcer: Right away.

Showstopper: The catcher's name?

Announcer: Yesterday.

Showstopper: Yesterday, and tomorrow's warming up in the bullpen.

Announcer: That's about the short of it.

Showstopper: You could lose this whole spring season.

Announcer: No Play at third!

Showstopper: No play, that happens at catcher, too.

Announcer: Don't tell me.

Showstopper: Season's gone behind the eight ball, got to play triple headers. Now the pestilence using an automated pitcher wants to take out baseball, but baseball being the national pastime has got to be ready. Who swang first?

Announcer: Now that's a pitch we've anticipated.

Showstopper: This is one game I know what I'm talking about!

Announcer: We know what we have to do.

Showstopper: You won't hit the ball past first base.

Announcer: We shall see!

Showstopper: Now who threw the first pitch?

Announcer: Automatically.

Showstopper: Look, if it threw the ball across the plate, something's got to give. Now who threw the first pitch?

Announcer: Automatically.

Showstopper: Who?

Announcer: Automatically.

Showstopper: Automatically?

Announcer: Automatically.

Showstopper: So the pitching machine delivers the ball and throws it automatically?

Announcer: No you don't, you already pitched the ball to Who.

Showstopper: Automatically.

Announcer: Right in his wheel house.

Showstopper: That's not what I wanted.

Announcer: You're not going to get away with this...

Showstopper: It throws the ball automatically.

Announcer: It pitched it to Who.

Showstopper: Automatically.

Announcer: That's him.

Showstopper: That's the pitch I called!

Announcer: Can't fool me.

Showstopper: It pitched the ball to who?

Announcer: Automatically.

Showstopper: Don't sass me.

Announcer: It pitched the ball to Who.

Showstopper: Automatically.

Announcer: That's him.

Showstopper: Back at you! Back at YOU! It pitched the ball to who. Whoever it was swang first. When Check Swing came up he hit a broken bat single and the kid ran hard to get to second, and there's No Play at third. He's on third and pestilence is about to give up a run!

Announcer: Shoo!

Showstopper: I said pestilence is about to give up a run!

Announcer: "Play ball," that's our calling card.

MARK HUMPHREY IS A SPORTS WRITER FOR THE ENTERPRISE-LEADER. THE OPINIONS ARE HIS OWN.

Sports on 03/25/2020

Print Headline: Who Swang First?

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