If you've seen Seinfeld, you probably have guessed that Jerry Seinfield and Larry David were baseball enthusiasts. There was the classic Yankees' Assistant to the Traveling Secretary (with Larry David often portraying George Steinbrenner).episode, and George Costanza's job as the
But I've never really heard Jerry Seinfeld actually talking about baseball. I mean, you sort of assume he grew up on Long Island as a Mets fan -- he turned eight shortly into the franchise's first season -- but I never really understood just how deeply Seinfeld's internalized baseball until this morning, when I read a long profile in the Times. After a while, my head was spinning with all the baseball references!
"Do you know this player Adam Greenberg?" he asked. "Seven years ago, he was a rookie, and in his very first at-bat he got hit in the head with the ball — knocked out, concussed, out of the league." Seinfeld raised an index finger from the wheel: "One pitch." The Marlins had agreed to sign Greenberg for a single day after fans petitioned on his behalf. "It might seem a bit Jewy if I get too excited about it — I wish he wasn’t Jewish," Seinfeld said. "But it’s a fascinating story. One at-bat after seven years. Think of the pressure on this guy!"
"There’s different kinds of laughs," he explained. "It’s like a baseball lineup: this guy’s your power hitter, this guy gets on base, this guy works out walks. If everybody does their job, we’re gonna win."
But he sees himself more as exacting athlete than tortured artist. He compares himself to baseball players — putting spin on the ball as it leaves his fingers, trying to keep his batting average high ... He said: "I’m not filling a deep emotional hole here. I’m playing a very difficult game, and if you’d like to see someone who’s very good at a difficult game, that’s what I do."
Finally, near the end of the piece:
The game resumed, and Ichiro Suzuki, the lean Yankees outfielder, approached the plate. "This is the guy I relate to more than any athlete," Seinfeld said. "His precision, incredible precision. Look at his body type — he’s made the most of what he has. He’s the hardest guy to get out. He’s fast. And he’s old."
Let's see. The guy loves baseball and Superman, and he's obsessed with his craft. It's really hard to not love him.