Monday, October 28, 2013

Because all diamonds aren't blue carbuncles.

Fall is a time for the fans. The very old school fans. The fans whose numbers make any other fan base seem like lightweights. The fans that fans don't think of as fans the way we think of fans.

Not the Trekkies. the Potterheads, the Twihards . . . no.

The sports fans. Between pro football going strong and major league baseball hitting its climax, one can't spend any time at all among Americans at large this time of year without hearing about some game or the other. And if you listen closely, it doesn't take long to learn that they care as much about their favorite teams as we ever did about Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

It makes for some interesting compare/contrast musings. The love of physical prowess versus the love of mental proficiency. The accepted adversarial nature of fan groups versus the "can't we all just get along" dislike of inter-fan-group squabbles. The strict framework limiting possible outcomes versus the open creative field of limitless possibilities. And yet there is something very similar about the depth of passion sports fans feel, approaching a religious intensity, just like best of our own breed.

In fact, sometimes the best of our own breed has a beloved sports team or two that they may just care about almost as much as Holmes. But not all of us. So when something comes along like a World Series baseball match-up pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox, a Sherlockian who hasn't spent any time considering the sport all year long might want to find some rationale for picking a team, just to be social.

So which is the logical choice for a Sherlockian in this World Series?

"St. Louis" appears twice in the the Canon of Sherlock Holmes. "Cardinal" appears twice in the Sherlockian sixty as well. Two and two equals four, the number of games it takes to win the World Series. Can't really dispute that kind of logic.

Boston may have some old Sherlockian clubbish connections, and the word "red" may have some Canonical mojo. But "Sox" gets no traction in Holmes lore, so all in all, it's hard to back the Rex Sox using Sherlock-based decision making. Of course, Sherlock-based decision making doesn't exactly have a lot of power in the fresh air and training world of professional baseball.

As I type this, Boston is leading St. Louis 3-1 in the fifth game of the series. But like I said, it takes four games to win the thing, and both teams have won two at this point. Will the Sherlock Holmes team win in the end? Well, unlike certain Holmes imitators who use "magical" deductive powers to predict the outcome of ballgames, no one can truly tell how things will turn out.

We shall see.


  1. How about "the cut of his socks" in The Three Garridebs?"

  2. Thought you might like this:

  3. Two things to note: the Red Sox were originally the Red Stockings, and "stockings" appears twice in The Sign of Four: "Now I must kick off my boots and stockings," (said by Holmes before he climbed into the garret at Pondicherry Lodge) and "'It was easy to follow him,' he said, drawing on his stockings and boots." (also SIGN).

    Second: John Baesch has my ultimate admiration. As a practicing Catholic and a Sherlockian, you can imagine he takes great interest in the Vatican Cameos. I remember him showing up at Autumn in Baker Street to give a talk on that subject, wearing a Cardinals jersey, emblazoned with #95 and the name Tosca on the back. One of the best Sherlockian costumes ever.

  4. 'Just to be social,' you say? I don't do 'social' very well. At work they know not to bring up sports - I have no interest and need not be bothered. (I DO watch women's beach volleyball, in slow motion - but I do not care which team wins or loses)