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Could George Costanza have made it in the big leagues?


I know what you’re thinking. Nick, are you really so starved for content that you’re plumbing these depths? And yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve had a lot to write about. But on some level, this is a matter that’s been burning at the edges of your psyche for years now. Don’t deny it. No, don’t walk away. Come back. I’m not going to hurt you.

Look, it’s okay. You’re among friends. You can admit it. You have, in fact, watched the Seinfeld clip of George Costanza teaching Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams how to hit and wondered if the small Jason Alexander-shaped man could consistently hit in a big league lineup.

Some context may be necessary here. One of the running gags of this episode is that George has become a genius as a result of abstaining from sex. It’s that sudden brain power that enables George to both understand the physics of hitting and do that mental calculation in his head as the pitch is being delivered. Any theoretical competitive success George would have depends on him remaining abstinent.

With that in mind, let’s consider George the baseball player. Despite the fact that he can suddenly hit, Costanza is still Costanza. He’s a small barrel-shaped man. Jason Alexander comes in at 5’5″, or an inch shorter than Jose Altuve‘s listed height. George has no known athletic abilities prior to his brain-blast. Being smarter might help him track balls off the bat, but they’re not going to help his range or throwing arm. That means George would strictly be a designated hitter. And as he says, hitting is not about muscle.

We don’t get a full view of George’s hitting mechanics. Yet it’s safe to say that the assistant to the traveling secretary doesn’t have much of a stride in his swing. It’s all trunk and arms. Even more remarkable is that George is hitting pitches just below his shoulders out for home runs. There’s not much lift to the swing. It’s the sort of mechanics that would get a scout to put a mark on the low end of the 20-80 scale on his report.

Yet it’s hard to argue with the results. George’s mental trigonometry is somehow letting him use line-drive oriented swings at high pitches to hit homers. It’s simple physics, he says. Giancarlo Stanton can use that sort of level swing to will a ball over the fence. He hits lasers all the time. But George Costanza? Now that’s something else entirely.

It’s not complicated. George has unlocked another level of human cerebral capacity, even if he hasn’t realized the full extent of his powers just yet. He’s Bradley Cooper in Limitless. He’s Scarlett Johansson in Lucy. He’s Professor X. The abstinence is his radioactive spider, his Green Lantern ring.

George Costanza has transcended our feeble mortal plane.

He is more.

These are batting practice pitches. That’s not Roger Clemens throwing 95 MPH at his head. It matters not. Put him in a uniform under the bright lights with Randy Johnson on the mound, wondering who the hell this small portly man in the batter’s box is, and he will still succeed. Costanza’s cracked the code. He’s the best hitter on the planet. He would have won the World Series in fewer than six games.

Could George have made it in the big leagues? That might be the wrong question. A more apt line of inquiry might have been whether Costanza would have made it into Cooperstown with a unanimous vote before Mariano Rivera did.

Alas, this is George Costanza we’re dealing with here. The gods decided long before George generously tried to teach Jeter and Williams how to hit that our hero was doomed to failure. It’s part of who he is, in his very DNA. Not even elevating his mind to unholy levels of strength could save Costanza from himself. Later in the episode, George sleeps with a woman. And then it’s all gone. His brilliance, his mastery of Portuguese, his hitting ability. All gone.

For that, dear reader, is who George is. He is a fool. George could have been the toast of the baseball world. Instead, he was merely the guy who put the Yankees in that Ramada in Milwaukee. For one brief moment, George Costanza was a legend.

Then he was just George.

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Fans allowed at NLCS, World Series in Texas

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Fans can take themselves out to the ball game for the first time this season during the NL Championship Series and World Series at new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that about 11,500 tickets will be available for each game. That is about 28% of the 40,518-capacity, retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers, which opened this year adjacent to old Globe Life Park, the team’s open-air home from 1994 through 2019.

The World Series is being played at a neutral site for the first time in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be played at one stadium for the first time since the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Browns at Sportsman’s Park in 1944.

Some of the seats will be included in presales for Texas Rangers season ticket holders on Friday and subscribers on Monday, and others are set aside for MLB and players.

Tickets are priced at $40-250 for the NLCS and $75-450 for the World Series, and 10,550 seats in the regular sections of the ballpark and 950 in suites will be sold in “pods” of four contiguous seats.

Each pod will be distanced by at least 6 feet and a checkerboard pattern will be used, with alternating rows of seats in the middle or rows and at the ends. Unsold seats will be tied back.

No seats will be sold in the first six rows within 20 feet of the field, dugouts or bullpen. Fans will not be allowed to the lowest level, which is reserved for MLB’s tier one personnel, such as players and managers.

Masks are mandatory for fans except while they are eating or drinking at their ticketed seats. Concessions and parking will be cashless, and the team’s concessionaire, Delaware North, is planning wrapped items.

The NLCS is scheduled on seven straight days from Oct. 12-18 and the World Series from Oct. 20-28, with traditional off days between Games 2 and 3 and Games 5 and 6, if the Series goes that far. The Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series all will be being played at neutral sites because of the coronavirus .pandemic.

MLB played the entire regular season without fans and also the first round of the playoffs with no fans. For the first time since spring training was interrupted on March 12, club employees and player families were allowed to attend games this week.

While Texas is allowing up to 50% capacity at venues, MLB did not anticipate having government permission for fans to attend postseason games at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles or Petco Park in San Diego, where AL playoff games are scheduled.

Globe Life Field has been the site of more than 50 graduations, but the Rangers played their home games in an empty ballpark.

The Rangers will recommend to MLB that the roof be kept open when possible, executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick said, but the team understands it will be closed in the event of rain. Matwick said MLB made the decision not to sell seats for the Division Series.

Other than 1944, the only times the World Series was held at one site came in 1921 and 1922, when the New York Giants and Yankees both played home games at the Polo Grounds. Yankee Stadium opened in 1923.