Joe Garagiola Baseball is a Funny Game book cover

Baseball is a Funny Game

Author: Joe Garagiola

Release: January 1, 1960

Publisher: Lippincott

Genre: Sports, Baseball, Humor


Synopsis: “The book is a series of anecdotes contextualized around a framework of the ballpark itself. It explores the game in the clubhouse, in the dugout, between the foul lines, and at meetings on the mound and elsewhere.”

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Quotes and Lines

“Gioi, you the fiesta boy what comes from The Hill, witha name witha ends a, e, i, o, getta name in the paper ad no killa somebody.”

Bill Klem, most famous of all umpires, once said there are 154 games in a season and you can find 154 reasons why your team should have won every one of them. Blame luck, the wind, a rock-headed play or the umpire. To this you might add the clubhouse boy who is blamed for almost anything.

Games aren’t won on muscle alone.

The magic words, if you want to sound like the expert; high and tight and low and away. A strategy meeting could very well at times be called a meeting of the Society for Advancement of the High Tight and Low Away.

I have often said that the 1952 Pirates, which lost 112 games, were the only ball club that I knew that had foolproof signs. Nobody ever got our signs. Many of the clubs thought they had them, but we would miss our own signs so much that they could never prove it.

There are standard gags that are always used, such as telling the catcher that he called for the wrong pitch, or telling an infielder to move around before somebody ties a horse to him. Telling the umpire to punch a hole in that mask or to get new batteries for that ouija board he’s using.

Only in a major league dugout can you know how much that hit meant to the kid trying to make the club or to old folks trying to hold on.
Only in a major league dugout can you interpret, “I just didn’t have it today” into the sober facts of, “He’s through.” The laughs are plenty, but there are even more heartaches. The stakes are high in the dugout.

Baseball is a game played with bat and ball and governed by rules set forth by a committee under the direction of the Commissioner of BAseball. Baseball is a game played by human beings and governed by unwritten laws of survival and self-preservation.

The mound has been the birthplace of philosophers.

The mound is no place for martyrs.

George Strickland took a pitch low–at least he thought it was low, but then heard, “Strike two!” He stepped out of the batter’s box and started for the dugout.
“Hey! where are you going? It’s only strike two,” said the umpire.
“I know,” said Strickland. “I brought the wrong club, and I’m going back to get a wedge.”

Nick Altrock, coaching for the Washington Senators, always had an answer for the umpires.. The late Bill McGowan told this one. Several calls had gone against Washington, and Altrock had discussed each one with McGowan. In the sixth inning a foul ball was hit into the stands. McGowan looked back and saw a woman being carried out on a stretcher. He asked Altrock, coaching at third, if the ball had hit her.
In a voice loud enough to be heard in the next county, Nick yelled, “No! You called the last one right, and she fainted.”

The big job of Mrs. Baseball Player is being housewife and mother in a life that is more topsy-turvy than most. The baseball wife has to be a combination cook, waitress, house detective, and secretary with an “Open 24 Hours a Day” sign hung around her neck.

To make the field playable and beautiful is the job; to help the club pick up extra games is the profession.

Almost everything about baseball is measured or recorded.

It takes 25 players with numbers on their uniforms to make a major league ball club, and it takes 400 social security numbers at each ball park to make the game what it is to the fans. It takes about a million fans a season at each ball park to make any of it possible.

The Philadelphia fan is the worst fan in the league. This will upset the true-blue Phillie fans, but the feeling the players have is that the fans there learn to say boo as their first word. They have the loudest grandstand jockeys. Though it be the City of Brotherly Love, the loudest boo birds are perched in Connie Mack Stadium.

Most luncheon clubs have a one-thirty deadline, and you have better be finished (regardless of when you got started) by then. If Moses were to do a repeat with the Ten Commandments at a luncheon meeting, he had better get in all ten by one-thirty, or he would find himself in an empty room.

Baseball gives you every chance to be great. Then it puts every pressure on you to prove that you haven’t got what it takes. IT never takes away the chance, and it never eases up on the pressure.

…people come to the ball games today the way they went to the theater in the days of Sophocles and Aeschylus. The people know what it’s all about, but nobody knows how it’s going to work out this time. In baseball, how can you tell how it’s going to work out when the script for today’s game is always written by those great collaborators, Ability, Pressure, Heart and Luck?

Baseball is a game of race, creed, and color. The race is to first base. The creed is the rules of the game. The color? Well, the home team wears white uniforms, and the visiting team wears gray.