For those of us lucky enough to spend the holiday season surrounded by close friends and loved ones, there is bound to be some sort of discussion of the great american sport. In case you find yourself arguing with a “baseball elitist” this holiday, Michael Clair has compiled a conversation guide of sorts to aid in proving some solid points “when your cantankerous grandfather or kooky aunt bring up baseball topics with old, bad takes.”

Clair writes about topics including:

Strikeouts

When a relative brings up something like this: “Why are strikeouts so high? You know, batters used to take pride in making contact with the ball.” 

You can answer with: So, teams realized that since there is very little difference between a weak groundout, pop fly and a strikeout, there was no reason for hitters to feel bad about striking out. So, instead of merely trying to make contact to avoid a strikeout, why not try to hit the ball as hard as they can. Aren’t doubles and homers better than weak groundouts?

Manny Machado

When Machado gets brought up (you know it might!): “Can you believe some team is gonna pay tons of money for Manny Machado! I don’t like him.” 

How do you not like him? He’s one of the best players in the game. He can hit for average, power and he plays strong defense at either third or short — arguably the hardest position in the game. Any team — literally every single one — would be improved with Machado on their team.

Bat flips

If the conversation turns controversial: “I hate that players flip their bats after home runs. It’s so selfish.” 

You can always come back with: Do you hate touchdown celebrations? Are you upset when players unleash a great dunk in basketball? In fact, I know that’s not true because I saw you spike the football during our annual family football game, Uncle Drew.

Plus, many baseball-playing cultures outside the United States have no problem with bat flips. They see a bat flip or on-field celebration as simply an extension of their enjoyment of playing the sport.

“It’s not respectful to the sport.” 

Having fun isn’t respectful? As Willie Stargell said, “It’s supposed to be fun, the man says ‘Play Ball’ not ‘Work Ball’ you know.” Ken Griffey Jr. is even in support of bat flips. Would you want to disagree with Ken Griffey Jr!? He’s baseball royalty. Mickey Mantle bat flipped.

Clair also writes about topics including: Shifts and the Cy Young award. To read about these and more, visit his article at: https://www.mlb.com/cut4/thanksgiving-baseball-conversation-guide/c-300963188

Have a happy holiday!