The first Christmas of writing this blog (two whole years ago now!) I did something that I thought would be a little fun for everyone: I collected some of my favorite baseball-related Peanuts strips and put them up as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for everyone. Little did I know that, a year later, I'd be compiling the stats for the entire baseball run in strip.
Anyhow, with Christmas here again, it seemed like a good idea to bring the post back one more time. I, of course, love the strips and there's a better-than-good chance that most readers here haven't seen it yet. No matter who you are, though, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and enjoy the strips! I have a lot of fun writing here and it's all thanks to everyone coming back. Thanks for a great year, and here's to an even better one.
It's Christmas-time now and...I thought nothing seemed more appropriate going into the holiday than a few words about the sport - what it's like to win, what it's like to lose, and what it's like to be a fan - from Charlie Brown and company.
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
(I'm leaving the strips small because I don't want to get anyone angry. That's why I've included transcripts of the comics below each one. Click on the image to make it slightly more readable.)
There's actually not a whole lot in the Peanuts oeuvre about winning, as Charlie Brown was rarely lucky enough to be on that side of the field. Still, there are some good bits if you look.
Charlie Brown lies in bed, clearly happy
Charlie Brown: We won our first game of the season... I can't believe it!
He starts tossing and turning
CB: I wonder how the other team feels...
He sits up, with a look of sadness
CB: I don't know... when we lose, I'm miserable... When we win, I feel guilty!
Charlie Brown ecstatically does cartwheels down the road
Charlie Brown: I hit a home run in the ninth inning, and we won! I was the hero!!
Sally (meeting him at the doorstep): YOU?!
Lucy walks up to Charlie Brown on the mound.
Lucy: What's the sense in playing when we know we're going to lose? If there was even a million-to-one chance we might win, it would make some sense...
Charlie Brown: Well, there may not be a million-to-one chance, but I'm sure there's a billion-to-one chance...
Lucy: There is? PLAY BALL!
(Click "Read More" to continue reading.)
As you can imagine, there's are quite a number of strips dealing with losing. Charlie Brown, after all, was the consummate loser. His eternal optimism in spite of that was what made him so endearing.
Linus is looking through some papers with Charlie Brown looking on
Linus: I've been going over our team records, Charlie Brown... We lost every game this season!
Charlie Brown (after looking for himself): Maybe we're building character
Charlie Brown is on the mound, lamenting another loss, as Lucy strolls up.
Charlie Brown: One hundred and twenty-three to nothing! No one should ever have to lose the first game of the season by a score of 123-0! It just not right... Besides, how could we possibly lose a game 123 to 0?
Lucy: We never got any breaks!
Peppermint Patty, the athlete, is very upset as Linus, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown look on.
Peppermint Patty: THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I've hit five home runs and pitched a no-hit game, and we're behind thirty-seven to five! Whoever heard of thirty-seven unearned runs? This is ridiculous! I thought I could help your team, Chuck. But it's hopeless! I'm going back where I came from!
Charlie Brown: That must be a nice thing to be able to do...
On Being a Fan
Charlie Brown was very famously a fan of Joe Shlabotnik, quite possibly the worst player in baseball history. His devotion was complete, though, despite all that his hero had to endure. If only we could all be so devoted...
Linus, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy are all seated at a table, waiting for Joe Shlabotnik to arrive to the sports banquet they paid to attend.
Linus: Where's Joe Shlatbonik?
Charlie Brown: He'll be here! When Joe Shlabotnik says he's going to do something, he does it! I remember one game last year... He came up to bat in the ninth inning, and said he was going to hit a home run...
Linus: Did he?
Charlie Brown: No, he popped up... But he ran it out!
Linus: I'm glad you have faith in your hero, Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown: He'll be here... He probably stopped to fix a flat tire on some elderly person's car...
Charlie Brown is reading the paper with Schroeder nearby.
Charlie Brown: Oh, no! My favorite player, Joe Shlabotnik, has been sent down to the minors again! He's going to play for Stumptown in the Green Grass League... I hope the fans appreciate what a great player they're getting. I bet he'll lead Stumptown to its first pennant!
Schroeder: With a .004 batting average?
A depressed Charlie Brown sits under a tree.
Charlie Brown: Well, it was another bad baseball year for me..
He walks to the front porch and picks up the paper
CB: Maybe my hero, Joe Shlabotnik, is having a better time... I'll see how he's doing...
Reading the paper
CB: "Joe Shlabotnik struck out last night in the bottom of the ninth as Stumptown of the Green Grass League sank deeper into the cellar."
CB, writing a letter: Dear Joe, Don't be discouraged. Someone understands.
Bonus: On Statistics
At one point, Linus, the brainy one, became enamored with statistics and went around telling everyone what he discovered. I don't know exactly when these were published, but it was likely before Bill James and his Abstracts...
Linus and Charlie Brown, sitting at their brick wall.
Linus: Do you want to hear some baseball statistics, Charlie Brown? According to my figures, as our pitcher, you had an earned run average this year of eighty runs per game. Statistics don't lie, Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown: No, but they sure shoot off their mouth a lot!
Charlie Brown, addressing his team as a smug Linus looks on.
Charlie Brown: All right. We've heard the report from our statistician. Both our hitting and our fielding averages were down this year. So you all know what we have to do next season
Team, together: GET A NEW STATISTICIAN!!!