I've been wanting to talk about baseball at length with someone ever since I saw Moneyball. Great film. John being a native american was more than happy to chat with me about it and we cover the basics of the sport, as well as a few of the more advanced intricacies of the game. Towards the end we start getting into how baseball is deeply ingrained within american culture in a very interesting discussion. John will be returning to talk about other American sports in future episodes!
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Hello hello good morning it is Taylor Ruddle and welcome to Ruddle Me This. Manawatiya Matariki I hope you had a wonderful Matariki and had to spend some time with your friends and family got up to something exciting. I'm recording this several weeks into the past so I really don't know what I got up to but I hope you had a fantastic Matariki. To any overseas listeners, Matariki is a new public holiday that we established in New Zealand as of one year ago I think, and it is in a nutshell it is the Māori New Year. A little tidbit that you might not know is the Matariki star cluster, I don't know what the correct word for that is, but the stars that they refer to in Matariki is actually the that you see in the Subaru logo. So I don't know if you knew that, but if you don't, then you do now. Today's podcast is with a very good friend of mine, John the Robert. John is an American gentleman. He is a Southern dandy, if you will. I think he's from the South. Anyway, today I'm catching up with John to talk about the great American pastime baseball. This is kind of following on from my last podcast with Big Jimmy Small where he teaches me kind of the basics about football from the US. I had a lot of good time. I had a good time talking with Jimmy about football. And this, I guess, is a continuation of that series in which people attempt to help me understand sports. So John the Robert is a stand up comedian, very good friend of mine. I have known him for a few years now. He and I both have a similar history of living in Japan for a little bit and we've both been gigging together for about three or four years now in Christchurch. He's got a little bit of experience doing musical gigs as well. He's a very well-rounded, multi-talented man and I'm a big fan of John. As you can imagine, I was very excited to sit down and chat with him about this. Ever since I saw the movie Moneyball, I have found the game of baseball to be really interesting, but we don't really have a big baseball culture here in New Zealand. So I thought it would be good to get John to explain to me some of the basics, some of the intricacies, and basically just go over why he loves the game of baseball so much. We recorded this one at 7 in the morning, which for me, and my currently unemployed slash full-time creative, that'd be a generous way of putting it, it was the earliest I've had to get up in a long time. So if my voice is a little weird, I'm a little sleepy, I do apologize for that. But it was a really good interview. We managed to stick to time. keep it under 40 minutes, that's a personal best for me. Usually it's easier going longer than it is shorter for me. The internet connection was pretty good, but there might have been one little tech hiccup at the start, but it only happened once. So just stick with it, and I'm sure you're gonna enjoy the rest of the interview. So with that, let's welcome to the show, my friend and yours, John the Robert. Good morning, John, and welcome to the podcast. Hey, Taylor, how you doing? It's an early morning for me. I am not an early riser. I imagine this is kind of a, you've been an early morning person for a while, have you? Yeah, yep. By, yeah, not really by design, but I need, I guess. So I think this will be your first official appearance on the podcast. The listeners probably won't know that we've done a few tests. We're kind of... noodling a few ideas around it will eventually get released at some point. But yeah, so this is your first like proper appearance on the podcast. I'm really glad to have you with us. Thank you. So today we are going to be talking about baseball. Yes. One of my passions. I love baseball. I've been a big baseball fan since the first, the first world series I can remember was in 1982 and I would have been about seven years old. So ever since then. So for the listeners out there with a keen intellect for accents, you'll notice that I am from New Zealand and John is from America. So I can't remember how we got onto the topic of this. I think you just brought it up one time when we were, maybe we were at a show or at dinner or something. You wanted to talk about how sports are sort of interwoven with American culture, right? Yeah. I mean, and I think, you know, probably most these days, certainly most Western countries have got a culture of sport, you know, there's certainly a big culture of sport here in New Zealand and, um, and the culture around sport is, you know, is unique in different places. So, um, I think the American sports landscape is a real mystery to a lot of Kiwis and I find myself being asked about it all the time and talking about it quite a bit. Um, so maybe that's how we got onto the topic. Yeah. Well, I, I find American sports more interesting than New Zealand sports. I've been told that rugby is not what it once was in this country. Apparently, basketball is the new sport that all the kids want to play. But yeah, I find American sports fascinating. And so to have an opportunity to talk about them with somebody actually from the country was great. So I guess we could start off by talking about what I know about baseball, because I'm not really a sporty person at all, but I've seen movies and stuff. The gist of the game, um, is you have how many players on the team. So playing at one time, you've got nine positioned players on the field. And do you have a batting lineup, a batting order of nine players that are. That come up to bat in a sequence in a predetermined order that's determined by the manager ahead of the game. And once the all nine have batted, it starts all over again. Oh, so they have to pick that in advance. They can't change it up on the fly. Oh, that's interesting. And so then pitcher throws the ball at the better. Um, I understand these guys throw it pretty freaking hard, right? Like I saw a number that they get it around a hundred miles an hour. Right. Yeah. So the velocity has, has absolutely crept up in the past few years. Um, so the average major league pitcher is probably at least in the. in the low to mid 90 mile an hour range on their fastball. And the elite hard throwing pitchers will hit a hundred for sure. But that's not every pitch. So a lot of the science and art of pitching is changing speeds. And that's what keeps the, that's what makes it so difficult to hit a baseball. So the, there might be a 97 mile an hour fastball followed by a 78 mile an hour curveball. Gotcha. Funnily enough, Yeah, that was Anthony Jeselnik said that about his jokes that he orders, he'll put someone in his set that are like, not as hard to guess, I suppose, and he said, for that exact same reason, he doesn't want every single joke to be a fastball, he wants to throw in some curveballs to mix it up. And so then the batter hits the ball, and if it goes like... from what I've seen, if it goes into the stands, that's a home run, right? Yeah. So if it, if it clears the fence, um, between the two yellow poles on either side of the outfield fence, so those, those two poles are called the foul poles. Okay. If it clears the fence between those two poles, that's a home run. If it's outside of that, it's a foul ball. So it does like, it doesn't count. And so I wondered when, when they hit the, um, the home run. Do they still have to run around the plates or could they just walk back to the dugout? No, they run around. They still have to run. Yeah. And so part of the reason for that in many cases, as soon as the batter hits it, the pitcher, the batter, the 30,000 people in stadium, like everybody knows that it's a home run because it's some majestic like moonshot kind of situation. But a lot of times you don't know. So like it maybe is just going to barely clear the fence. So the runner's got to run. Yeah. Cause if it doesn't clear the fence, he's got to be kind of on his way to, you know, second base or wherever he's going to end up. And they get one run for each time they get back to home plate. Um, is that the only way to score in baseball? Yes. And then if you get hit by the ball, like. many times you get to walk to the first base or something like that right? So there's a lot of ways to reach base. Okay. And so if the pitcher hits the batter with the ball then they go to first base so that's just called hit by pitch. And so there's the concept of balls and strikes and so that's to do with the location of the pitch. Yeah, so the rules are set up so that the pitcher is incentivized to throw the ball in a zone that the batter can actually hit it. Yeah. And so that's called the strike zone. And so the strike zone is from a horizontal plane perspective, the ball has to fly over home plate. Yeah, okay. So from left to right. And then from... top to down, the strike zone is kind of like the, from the, the bottom of the letters on the batter's uniform to their knees. Gotcha. Yeah. So like below the knees, that's low. That would be a ball and above the letters that's high. So that would be a ball or if it's, we say outside or inside, if it's too far off of the plate away from the batter, then that's outside. And if it's too if it's between the plate and the batter than that's inside. So anyway, four balls so that are not strikes because they're too far from the plate or too high or too low. Four of those is a walk in the batter get you out of first base. Gotcha. Okay. And then if you swing three times or actually with a strike, Does the batter have to make any move for the ball for it to be counted as a strike? No, so if the batter Doesn't swing so there's two punks. There's a Strike looking and a strike swinging. Gotcha So if you don't swing but the ball crosses the plate and it's between that high and low zone that I described then that's a strike Regardless of whether or not the guy swings. Gotcha. If the batter swings and misses then that's a strike Okay. Um, and the, the other way to have a strike is if you hit a foul ball, the foul ball counts as a strike. Oh, right. Okay. And that's if it goes too wide, right? Yep. So outside the lines and the rule about that is the foul ball cannot be the third strike. Oh, okay. That makes sense. So once you get, once you get to two strikes, so the very, very skilled batters will purposefully hit foul balls with two strikes until they get a, until they, they're presented with a pitch that they can hit. Oh, that makes sense. So there's quite a bit of tactics to being a batter as well. You're not just trying to smash it as hard as you can. Yeah, there's, there's a lot of strategy. And then, so once you hit it, the fielding team, I have to either, they have to hit you with the ball, right? They have to touch you with the ball. How do you get out? It's they throw it to the basement and then the basement try to touch you before you get to the plate. Yeah. So the, um, So in a simple scenario, so there's nobody on base and maybe it's like the first batter of the inning. So the batter hits the ball and they start running to first base. So what the defense wants to do is they wanna stop the ball and then any way they can. So a simple way to get somebody out is to catch the ball in the air. Oh, if you catch it before it touches the ground, you're out. Yep, if you catch the ball in the air, the batter's out. Oh, okay. Yeah. Um, but another very common way to get out is maybe you hit the ball on the ground and it rolls to the infield and one of the, uh, one of the fielders will grab the ball with their glove and throw it to first base. If the ball gets to the first baseman before the runner, then they're out. The runner. And yes, yes. Okay. I understand that. And then is there any other rules? that I haven't mentioned or anything like that. Cause that's kind of the gist of the game, isn't it? Yeah. I mean, that's the gist of it. The rule book is literally a book. So there's a lot of rules, but that's, that's enough. Probably. This is a very brief overview. We're kind of more interested in culture behind baseball. I think then I just wanted to make sure I kind of understood how it all works. And there's, you know, there's, so there's, there's three strikes and you're out. There's three outs in an inning when then they change sides, you know, so after three outs, the, the fielding team goes into bad and the batting team. Oh, so you only have to get three players. You only have to strike out three players to swap over. Yep. That's right. So there's three outs and there's nine innings. So in a whole game, in order to win the game, you need to get 27 outs. Oh, okay. Gotcha. Yeah. And I was going to say as well, you were telling me that they play Heaps of games in baseball, don't they? That's right. So each major league team plays 162 games. Oh my God. And then NFL, that's multiple games a week, presumably, right? Yeah, so it's just about every day. So the season runs from April, early April into the 1st of October. So it's about six months. And your team will typically play, if not every day, six games a week. Wow. Six or seven. I mean, and there'll be stretches. You know, my team just recently finished a run of 17 days in a row with the game. Oh my God. And then so just for comparison, NFL teams, I'm aware it's a different sport and they're taking a lot more damage than NFL, but how many games would an NFL team play in one? Yeah, so NFL traditionally was 16, but they've increased that recently. I believe there's 17 games now. And the NBA and NHL have 82 games. And that's a season is what six months? Yeah, approximately. The NFL season is probably a bit shorter than that. So they're only, they're only playing 17 games in six months. So the, yeah, well, the NFL goes from what September through early January. Um, and that's kind of the initial competition. And then there's the kind of post season playoff tournament. Oh, okay. Gotcha. So yeah, baseball players play a lot of baseball. I suppose that makes it quite good if you're a baseball fan is you can sort of rely on them. There's going to be baseball on TV, uh, at any given point. Yeah, that's right. And, and that's one of the things I really like about it is because it is an everyday game. It becomes kind of part during baseball season. It's just so it becomes a real kind of part of your life, you know, like every day. Yeah. I mean, I don't necessarily, because there's so many games, like you can't. Can't. physically watch every game. But, you know, and now, you know, with the technology available, I've got, you know, the MLB app. And so if I'm out and about, I can listen to the radio broadcast of the games, wherever I am, or if I'm at home, I can, you know, you have the game on TV, or even if I just miss a game, I'll watch the highlights at night, or I'll just, you know, look at the summary of what happened in the game or whatever. And it's just... Yeah, it's a lot of fun to kind of follow a team every day throughout the season. Yeah. I'm a little bit like that with pro wrestling because of like much of the same with YouTube and all the apps and stuff. Um, it can be quite nice to get home at the end of the day and then just go through your highlights of your team. Well, in my case, it's like my favorite wrestlers and stuff like that. Um, I was going to ask this as well about the idea of like a superstar in baseball. Cause we were talking about, um, Shohei, Showtime from the LA Angels. I'm just, he's the only baseball player I know at the moment. And because he's from Japan, I'm just like, yeah, you know, go dude. Are there superstar players on baseball teams or at this point, is it like the Yankees as an institution or the Red Sox, whatever will be like the kind of the draw rather than individual players? So that's, I think that's a pretty interesting question. So. Um, so there are absolutely superstar players and Shohei Otani is, um, well, internationally, he was certainly the most famous baseball player at the moment. And that's because he's, he's so incredibly unique. He, nobody's done what he's done. Um, like literally in a hundred years. So just for context, he is a pitcher who can also hit really well. That's right. And, and baseball just. does not have that concept. So in cricket, there's the concept of the all-rounder. And in baseball, it just absolutely does not exist and hasn't existed for over a hundred years. And so for, you know, so Otani has kind of broken the mold, you know, and is an unbelievable talent. But aside from that, there's certainly superstar players. So Aaron Judge plays for the Yankees. Mike Trout is probably the best player for his generation. He also plays for the Angels. My team, the Astros have got some you know, very quality superstar players who are incredibly popular in Houston. Of course. And, but in saying that, I think there is, baseball has not done a very good job of, of kind of marketing its superstar players, not nearly as well as the NBA or the NFL. Um, so I think there is something to that, that the, the logo. of teams is probably more valuable than individual players. Right. And, and because, and again, it goes back to like the everyday thing and the following a team and the, you know, it takes a bit of time and whatever emotional intellectual investment to really follow baseball. So I think that it's the, for me anyway, it's certainly the my team is what's most important. But then of course, you know, my team is made up of individual players. And so you, yeah, it'd be players that you really like. And yeah. Oh, this one we could also talk about is I got into this a little bit with, uh, Jim when we were talking about football teams, the, like, let's say you were a city in America with a lot of money. Could you just make a baseball team? No. So there is a process to getting kind of selected by MLB to make one. So I should walk that back. So of course you can make a minor league baseball team. So that's another kind of part of the culture of baseball is there's a whole system of minor leagues which are underneath the 30 major league teams. Yeah. Now, most of those minor league teams are what we call affiliated. So that means they're attached to one of the major league teams. Oh, so they're like a feeder league kind of thing. Yeah, that's right. But there are, but outside of that system, there are independent leagues, yeah, that kind of operate in this parallel universe. They're, they're typically, they are kind of, I think, for the most part, independent leagues are... They're sort of off to the side and probably of lower prestige, I think, than the affiliated leagues. But there's, yeah, like, so like a rich guy in, you know, so Savannah, Georgia is a good example, because they have this, there's a famous team called the Savannah bananas that crazy, like seriously whacked out marketing stunts. Um, and, you know, so like a rich guy in Savannah could just start a baseball team, but that. That is never going to be a major league team. Of course. So then could a minor league team get into the major league? Like can they, cause obviously you're, you're in that league for life kind of thing. Yes. The players move around the place. So the concept of like relegation and promotion that they have in European soccer doesn't apply in American sports at all. So the teams don't sort of move up and down, but the players do. Yeah. Or the players can. That was one thing I remember from the movie Moneyball is they were talking about trading players, um, which seems so some, to me as someone who's not in sports, it seems crazy that you could just have to move city like, you know, at the drop of a hat, does that kind of thing happen a lot or was it dramatized for Moneyball? Like would players just get traded? Like, Yeah, it happens a lot. So it doesn't, it happens a lot at certain times of the year. So it doesn't, it's not something that really happens every day. So now we're having this conversation on June 19th, still pretty early in the season. So we're still in the first half of the season. The trading really picks up around mid July and there's a, well, really the month of July. So there's a trading deadline, which I believe is, it used to be August 31st, but I think it's changed. I think. I feel like now it's August 1st. And so there's a flurry of activity in the few weeks before the trade deadlock. And then in the winter, so in the off season, that also there's trades that happen. So if you're like. If you're not having a great season, you'll see that August 31st creeping up and you'll be like a little bit nervous. Like, Oh no, like it depends. There's a lot of factors that go into that. So there's the concept of teams that are either buying or selling. So if your team's not going well, your teams that you have in a terrible season, you're not going to make the playoffs. There's kind of no hope for this year. You might think, well, I've got a player who's actually very good, who's valuable, but doesn't really fit into the long-term plans of building my team for next year, the years following. So maybe I'll trade that player to a contending team and I'll get some, maybe I'll get two or three, you know, very young prospect minor league players, right? Who would, who in the idea behind doing that is those, those minor league players, they will pay off in the long run. It might be two or three years before they play in the major leagues. But they'll have high potential. Gotcha. So you could buy a player from the minor league and bring them up to the major league. It's just the teams that suffer don't move. Oh, that's really cool. And so that happens all the time. And so that's again, part of the interest in the game. So when there's 162 games and they play every day, guys get injured all the time. And so, or just... You know, one of the Astros pitchers had a bereavement in his family. So he was away from the team for a week or so. And so they brought up a pitcher from their minor leagues to take his spot. Oh, that's awesome. While he was away. So there's, there's that sort of stuff that happens. You know, the teams constantly are moving guys up and down from the. You mean you've got your core, you know, top level players who would never go to the minor leagues, but then there's a whole, you know, group, maybe. 20% of your team that maybe less than that, I don't know, 10% of the team or whatever, that potentially goes up and down between the major leagues and the minor leagues. I was going to say as well, so if you were playing on a minor league team, would you still be doing professional baseball? Would you have to be working at the same time? So there is a massive pay discrepancy between the minor leagues and the major leagues. Can you imagine? There's about four or five different levels of minor league. Oh, okay. Yeah. And so the very, very lowest level of minor league is not a full-time wage. I think those guys make something like $10,000 to $15,000 a year playing baseball. So they would have to do other things or have family support or whatever. The highest level of minor leagues, and they're called single A, double A, and triple A. Okay. AAA is the highest minor league level for the major leagues. And my understanding is there was an agreement with minor league players. It was just reached this past winter to kind of improve the working conditions. But I think the average AAA salary is something like 50 to $70,000 a year. Okay, so you make it a living. It's enough to, you can make a living doing it, but consider the... the minimum major league salary as negotiated with the players union is $720,000 a year. Oh wow. That is the minimum salary. So like a minor league guy who comes up to replace somebody for a week who's on the region or whatever, then they're getting a pro rated amount off of that $700k a year. Wow. So that could be life changing. Is baseball one of those sports where... athletes can go into it and make a bunch of money, but then almost come out of it worse because they don't spend their money well. Do you see that kind of thing happening a lot with players or are they usually? Yeah, I don't really, I don't. Yeah. I think there's some, there's some famous examples of, of players, I suppose, who weren't good with their money, but, um, the, at the top end, the money is so completely ridiculous that it is hard to imagine you'd have to. It's hard to imagine messing that up. How does that stack up compared to something like the NFL? If you were a, like a pro, you know, like in the equivalent of major league in the NFL, what would your minimum salary be compared to that 700,000? Yeah, that's a good question. I really don't know. Um, the, the baseball, um, players union has traditionally been the strongest of any of the, um, major North American sports and that's to do kind of with the history of it. And, um, so I don't really know how that, yeah, I don't know what the NFL minimum is. It's probably around the same. I feel like it's probably in the, in the same ballpark. I remember looking at a list of the top 10 highest paid athletes on the planet and something like the first eight were all soccer players and there was a, there was a few baseball players on there as well. And then obviously like LeBron and you know, like the superstars from the other sports, but yeah, I've, I've seemed like baseball players weren't doing too badly. No, they're all right. So the, um, the average major league salary, um, for 20, 23 was 4.9 million. Oh my God. The, the median, although that's kind of misleading because there's some like crazy astronomical numbers that kind of skew the average, so maybe a better metric is. the median. So the median salary is 1.5 million. Wow. That's not too bad. Cause you know, there's a lot of guys, you know, every team will have, you know, new guys that are like right on that minimum salary. They're not making the big, um, and so that, that kind of brings the, you know, brings the median down. But of course, yeah. The other thing, this was big money in it. Yeah. No kidding. The other thing I'd love, I should have done some research about what rugby players are played, are paid in New Zealand, because that could be kind of an interesting comparison there. But I had another couple of questions on my list. So we have, you spoke about this briefly in the beginning with the batting order. Do teams have, I'm assuming they do have a system for deciding who bats in what order, because there'll be... I'm guessing that you were talking about like there's no one like Showtime who can do batting and pitching. So I'm guessing maybe there are players who you just have them for their batting or vice versa. You just have them for their fielding or their throwing. Is that kind of like the? Yeah, that's right. So although to be a major league player, you typically have to be at least acceptable. Yeah, there will be a bar in the field. Yeah. But yeah, there's absolutely a strategy around that. So you're the first batter called your leadoff hitter is Is the guy who's most likely to get on base? Yeah, right. So they take a lot of walks they You know, they they're faster. Usually your leadoff hitter is fast, you know, so he's more likely to Get to first base because he can run faster than the defense can collect the ball and throw it, you know Yeah, absolutely and then and then From there, you're, you know, two, three, four, five, or all your, you're quite good hitters. You're, you know, three and four, usually the guys who hit the most home runs. Cause the idea being that you get some runners on base and then they hit a home run or something in that we use the phrase to drive in run. So you hit the ball in such a way that your previous teammate who already got on base is able to come around and to score. And then your. your weaker hitters are kind of at the bottom of the lineup, numbers seven, eight, nine, just simply because they will, they will bat less frequently. Yeah. You know? And then the other, there's another aspect of it is the right-handed and left-handed. So there's often a part of the strategy might be to have, you know, right-handed batter followed by left-handed batter, or maybe there. depending on who the pitcher is that day, you might want to have two left-handed batters in a row or something like that. Oh, I see. That's a little bit like when we structure an open mic lineup is you want to have someone experienced up first, chuck a few of the newer people in the middle, few experienced people in the end, a bit like an anchor. So that is cool to know that they do the same kind of thing with baseball. So just being conscious of the time here, we should move on to the cultural. crossover that you wanted to talk about with baseball. We've got about eight minutes left. What kind of stuff did you have in mind when you're talking about how deeply baseball is intertwined with the culture in America? You always hear three strikes here out as a really common phrase. And even here in New Zealand, you know what I mean? I imagine there's a lot of terminology that we got from baseball. the first professional sport in the States. You know, the earliest professional baseball goes back to the 1870s. Well, it's been going for a very long time. I think another really interesting aspect of baseball that is perhaps not appreciated in non baseball playing places is the, the international aspect of it. So, um, I'm sure somebody's written a dissertation on this, but, um, I, I have a theory that I guess at least in the, um, from the, from like a colonization point of view, if your country was colonized by British people, then you probably play cricket. And if you were colonized by Americans, either politically or economically, then you probably play baseball. Yep. Um, we both lived in Japan for a spell and they, they love baseball over there. Yes. What does some other Japanese love, love baseball as do, um, Cubans and Dominicans. Yeah, I was going to say, there's a lot of, yeah, I saw a Key and Peele sketch where like 90% of the team were all like, like you said, Cuban, Dominican and stuff. And I assumed that was wise because I'm guessing America had something to do with that back in the colonization days. Yeah, there's a lot of Dominicans in Major League Baseball. Yeah. Like a lot, like every team I think has multiple Dominicans. So would it be, how would a player make it from the, as Dominican Republic is the country, isn't it? How would it, do they, I'm guessing maybe the Americans have scouts over there or something watching the, whatever their league is to, to bring them to a man. Yeah. Well, in, in younger than, you know, like those, those scouts watching high school games and there's baseball academies. So my team and the Astros were one of the first to put together an academy in Venezuela. I think it. maybe in the nineties, it's been going for a long time. And so they set up a baseball academy in Venezuela looking for, trying to identify talent. Gotcha. And so they might sign a player when he's, I don't know what the rules are around the age. I feel like they gotta be 16 or 17 or something. But yeah, so they might sign a very young player and get him into the minor league system when he finishes high school. Wow. And then kind of go from there. That's brilliant. I guess I was going to say as well, the cool thing about sports, like the one thing we suffer with a little bit with stand-up comedy is you can't really go and do it in a country that you don't speak the language in. But because baseball is like, you know, there's no real, you don't have to be communicating verbally with your teammates for most, you know, you can kind of see if someone's going to throw the ball to you or. you're the better, you just got to stand there and wait for the ball to fly you to hit it. So I imagine that makes it a lot easier for people to do it professionally. If you're not from, Yeah, I've always thought like, I think it is probably, I assume that it's more difficult for the Japanese guys because the, you know, Japanese players in the major leagues is is relatively recent, really just since the 90s that that's become a thing. There's a lot of Japanese players now, but still you might only have a lot of teams might only have one or like my team, the Astros doesn't have any Japanese players, but every team has got so many Spanish speaking players that the game is very bilingual. I mean, and even the stadium in Houston, I went to some games last year, the stadium is fully bilingual. The fans are bilingual. very bilingual city. Because you guys are right next to Mexico, aren't you? Yeah. So the, I think any, and any of the like managers that coaches who've been around the game for a long time, I think just about all of them will at least speak baseball Spanish. Baseball Spanish. That's great. You have to cause there's just so many Spanish speaking. Um, so many Spanish speaking players. Yeah. And then. just in the last few minutes before we wrap up, what is your history with baseball? Did you play when you were younger? And like, I guess, is it, how common is it for parents to kind of push their children into playing it when you're growing up in the States? Yeah, when I grew up, it was, it was kind of everybody played baseball. Yeah, I played until, I guess, through, through middle school, I didn't play in high school, but I, yeah. I guess I probably started when I was five or six and up until about the age of 13 or 14 or so. Yeah. I think what got me really, what made me become a baseball fan though was that my dad took me to baseball games and we had a major league team and that's the game that we went to the most often. And the reason we did that is because it was very affordable. I mean, even now. Baseball is by far the most affordable of the American sport. So, and a lot of that is because there's so many games, so you got 162 games. So you're home, you got 81 home games. So in a season, the team has got to sell tickets to 81 games. And some of those games are going to be on Tuesday night or Thursday afternoon. And so there are, there's a lot of tickets to be sold. So there's always, you know, discounts and stuff. When I was a kid, the local public library had a, you know, like a summer reading program or whatever. And you take off all these books that you read and you get some tickets to baseball games, you know? So we went to a lot of baseball games. We, as a child, I think, you know, we went to a handful of NBA games, but even then in the eighties, the NBA games were very expensive. So there was a... That was like a real treat, you know, or some kind of special one-off thing. Whereas, you know, going to baseball games is just like going to a movie or something. We do that all the time. From what I've seen of people going to baseball games is it seems like it's not as constantly action packed as something like the NBA. So people almost go for like the hang, you know, they'll have like a, yes, there's the image that we have in our head of like beer, hot dog, dad and son. watching baseball and like they're kind of watching, but also, you know, you can, I guess it's a benefit is that you don't really have to be paying super close attention to enjoy baseball. That's right. Yeah, that's exactly right. And it's a, you know, there's the, the strategy, you can, you can enjoy it on a lot of different levels. So you can kind of just sit there and see the whole spectacle of the, and the architecture of the stadium. That's a whole, that's a whole other thing. Yeah. the aesthetics of the uniforms and all that sort of stuff, the sound of the game and everything. Or you can really, really geek out at a deeper level about the strategy and what pitch is gonna come next and who's batting when and what's the manager thinking. And you can get into all of that. But you could say the same for any sport. There's a lot of different levels of interest that you can choose to engage with. That's brilliant. Well, we're basically running out of time now, so we'll wrap it up there. Let's maybe, let's try and do another one about baseball or American sports. So John, thanks for joining us on the podcast. I'll chuck all of your social links in the, um, in the, in the description, but uh, yeah, I hope you have a great rest of the day and appreciate you joining us. No worries. Thanks, Taylor. All the best. You too, man. All right. See ya. And we are back. I hope you enjoyed that interview. I very much enjoyed having the conversation with John and I think it might be good to bring him back and talk about some other American sports. Maybe we could talk about American football. Maybe we could do another episode on baseball. We had a little bit of a debrief chat after the podcast and he was still dropping some really interesting little tidbits about baseball. So I think I'm sure there is a lot more that we could cover if we were going to do another episode on baseball. So maybe we'll bring back John for that. But otherwise we're going to bring back John. For a multitude of other things, he and I have been sort of tolling around doing some kind of pilot ideas for another podcast idea that we have in mind. So hope you enjoyed my chat with John. You're definitely going to see him popping up again on the podcast. If you would like to check out some of his comedy, you can find him on social media. His Facebook page is the only one that I think he uses and that is facebook.com John the Robert. First name John, middle name the Last name Robert, this is catchphrase would imply. As for me, as always, I am on every single social media except for Twitter at Taylor Ruddle Comedy. Check out my mini comedy spesh, all my COVID jokes for free on YouTube, 15 minutes of COVID jokes. In terms of gigs, I don't think I have a lot to plug in the way of public gigs at this point. I am recording this one a few weeks into the past so we may have announced some new ones since then so as always go to kandocomedy.com or check us out on Facebook, facebook.com slash kandocomedy to find out what we're running. As for me, I have quite a few private gigs that I'm going to be doing over the next few weeks which is quite exciting. I sometimes host this thing called Beats by Bingo which is a musical bingo kind of party game. It's really cool. I enjoy it a lot. Heaps of fun. good money for us Starving Artists here. But yeah, if you have a venue or a private event that you think you might be interested in hosting Beats by Bingo at, go to, I think it's bitchinbingo.com and that's the kind of company name. And check that out, it's heaps of fun, really good for fundraisers, it's kid-friendly, all that good stuff. Oh, one more thing I should tell you. My pop quiz, I actually had a chat with the owner, Dean, awesome guy at Meepalopolis, and we have increased the frequency of the pop quiz to the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. So, I believe for July, that is the 11th and the 25th, and then every month following that, it's the second and fourth Wednesday. So if you haven't had a chance to check out my pop culture quiz, the pop quiz. head along to my Facebook page, TaylorOddallComedy on Facebook, and check out when the next date of that is going to be for you. I'd love to see you along. It's heaps of fun, only costs you $10 to play, or you can order some food and get to play. You can win... voucher surprises and it's just a basically just a fun old time. I really enjoy hosting it. So that's all from me, really appreciate you listening, hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and I hope you've got heaps of exciting things coming up on the weekend. Catch up with you next time, I have been Taylor Ruddle and this was Ruddle Me This. Ruddler out.