Mom, when watching baseball, doesn't really believe that the pitchers actually know what they're doing. She doesn't think that they actually KNOW where the pitches are going to go, or that they MEAN to locate a ball somewhere. And, in some cases, she is definitely right. My dad and I had to explain to her that it's like taking shots at a basketball hoop; you don't throw and just hope it goes in (well, maybe). You practice your accuracy, and use that accuracy to score points in order to help your team win. Of course, that explanation did not fly during some of our more annoying losses. "See? They don't know what they're doing. They're just throwing and hoping for the best." And in those cases, it was really hard to argue with her... because she was sort of right. Which was infuriating. (For those of you interested in the cultural aspect of this in a literary sense, there is a chapter in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan which talks about chess strategy. It's a similar situation, and Amy Tan is a better writer than I am... especially since this is just a blog post.)
Anyway, it's summer break and I'm job searching, and my mother relaxing at home for the time being... and what is better than watching baseball. Seriously. Not even a question.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that most of these conversation snippets that I'm about to relate are translated (poorly) from Chinese, and as a result, there is always a bit of something lost in translation. Also, I'm simply not a professional interpreter, even if I am fluent in both English and in Chinese.
Before I get started though, I want to say a few things about her observations. I don't want anybody to get offended or be appalled when these comments are taken out of context of the culture in which she grew up and in which I was raised. Some things, which would be perceived as insults in American culture are not necessarily insults in our culture... more like good-natured ribbing. Also, my mom's English is quite good, but she forgets where to add S's and when to NOT add S's. She also sometimes reverts to using Chinese grammar rules with English, which doesn't work very well. It's a little bit harder for her to code-switch that it is for me. And yes, she can pronounce her P's, T's, L's, and R's, and I'm phonetically exaggerating her accent (she does have one) for comedic effect. And articles (like "a" and "the").
· · Birthday buddy Jordan Schafer was the lead off batter today [25MAY2011: @Pirates, Minor vs. McDonald] , and my mom just LOVED him. "他好cute喔! 像小孩子一樣. 他怎麼那麼小啊? 打棒球要幾歲才能打?" [He's so cute! Like a child. How is he so small? How old do you have to be to play baseball?]
"He's, like, 24, Mama."
"He look like fourdeen."
· Gonzo was up to bat, and I mentioned that I loved him. “What, who? Him??”
“Yes, #2. He’s so awesome.”
“But his face is so chubby.”
Later: “Is he really that good?”, skeptically. My dad had not been impressed with Gonzo the last few games he actually watched, and he was vocal about it. Mom heard.
“Yes.” (He singles.) “See?”
“All right, pretty good.”
· Chipper Jones is “ChippaJone.”
· “Is that Ah-glah?”
· On Birthday Buddy again: “真的像小孩子一樣. 好小! 好可愛喔! 他的helmet怎麼那麼大? 頭好小喔.” [Really looks like a little kid. So little. Precious. Why is his helmet so big? His head is small.]
· On Freddie’s double: “只跑到第2壘而已. 這個人跑得有一點慢, 因為他太肥了. 這第4號的比較搜, 可能跑得比較快.” [Only to second? This guy runs a little slow, because he’s too fat. This #4 is skinny, he probably runs faster.]
· On He-man’s homer (specifically the bat drop, the slow strut before the home run trot): “好噁心喔. 你看他. 好了不起的樣子.” [This is hard to translate without the correct context (i.e. how we use it), so I’m going to just do my best and give the so-called American equivalent. Amused, complete with a smirk: “Gross. Look at him. Acting like he’s all amazing and big and bad.”]
I would like to interject at this point and tell you that the players my mother thinks are cute, adorable, or good-looking up to this point: Jordan Schafer (obviously), Brandon Beachy (“Oh, this one has a good face”), Eric O’Flaherty, Joe Mather (“Yeah, he’s pretty good-looking”), etc.
· On Eric O’Flaherty: “Oh, 2-2. Strahck heem out!”
Close-up of EOF’s face: “Oh, yeah, he’s cute.” Cut to JJ. “No, not him.”
· Nudges me, giggling about Schafer’s baserunning. “你看, 你看! Look like teen-ager!” [Look, look!]
· About a Pirates reliever’s pitch: “Looks a leetle beet high.” Upon the replay, sagely. “Mm. Strike.”
· On Chipper Jones’ swinging strike: “哎呀. ChippaJone 好像在隨隨便便.” [Chipper doesn’t look like he’s even trying.]
· On Chipper Jones’ called third strike: “Sheeit. 至少要揮棒吧!” [Shit. At least swing the bat!]
· On Jordan Schafer’s stolen base (since they initially only showed the Doumit’s throw to 3B): “OH. MY. GAWD. Oh. Ok, good.”
· On Jonny Venters’ inning (when I made her switch it back from the early rounds of the French Open): “不看還比較好一點. Sheeit. 還mistake呢! Sheeit.” [It was better not to watch. Shit. There was even a mistake!]
· “What do you think of this guy [Jonny Venters]?”
“I need to see his face.”
Cut to a shot from behind, about to pitch. “他是白的嗎? 怎麼那麼肥啊? 哇! 真肥.” [Is he white? (note: this is a non-sequitur.) How’s he so fat? Wow. He’s fat.]
Later: “hmm. 他的屁股還滿好看得.” I started laughing hysterically. “No, 從後面看. 還不錯.” [hmm. His butt is pretty nice. No, look, from behind. Not bad.]
· “A man’s butt is important, too, isn’t it? A man with a flat butt is really just unattractive.” (Yes, I got tired of typing out the Chinese.)
· About Freddie’s stretch after that sick double play that Huggla and Gonzo started: “Wow! Our first baseman is good. Look at that stretch. He’s like a horse. Freeman.”
· Mom was walking around when I told her, "The butt you like is back on tv."
"I've seen it already."
"I've seen it already."
"You don't want to watch it again?"
She came back and sat down. "Hm. So perky."
· “What’s a pinch runner? What does that mean? They run for him? Oh, he has nice dimples [Wilkin Ramirez].”
“Yeah, for Mac, because he’s kind of slow.”
“Because he’s chubby.”
· After Brooksy’s homer: “This pitcher just said ‘Sheeit.’ He really just said ‘Sheeit’ after that pitch. Everybody [on the Pirates] just said ‘SHEEEEEIT!’”
· On Freddie: “He’s kind of cute. Just a little bit chubby. And his mouth is always open. But cute.”
· On Kimmie: “He pitches funny. Why does he have to bend over like that?”
Later: “He’s got a nice face.”
“But he bends so low! I guess that’s his style.”
“His waist looks thick. His butt is too big.”
“His face is so red. Why is it so red?”
“Men cannot have butts that are too big. That’s unattractive. But they can’t have NO butts, either.”
· On Brooksy rounding the bases. “Guh. Look at his butt. My goodness.”
· On Rossy. “He’s so tall.”
Do y'all have any humorous Baseball with Mom stories? Please share them in the comments. :)