Friday, July 24, 2015

The Sociology of Baseball Annies

First some  quotes from Annie Savoy, the fictional character from the movie Bull Durham and the prototype of said women and where the term came from:

"There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball."* 

"I am, within the framework of the baseball season, completely monogamous."

"Walt Whitman once said, 'I see great things in baseball.  It's our game, the American game.  It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.'  You could look it up."

Baseball annies are a generic term used to refer to baseball groupies, a phenomenon occasionally seen around lower-level minor league parks.  Some of them are, quite frankly, underaged; but there a few annies that spend their whole sexual careers in the minors.

Rachel, a doctoral-level sociology student at the University of Coastal Florida, needed a dissertation topic that would also give her academic career a liftoff or at least a bed of roses to lay in when she got that Ph.D.  She believed in planning ahead!  So she first took an overview, and decided that participant observer research was likely to disproportionately obtain notice.  After all, noted users of this technique in the past studied street corner boys, blue collar workers hanging out in bars, small town social class structure, and even drug pushers.  And darn it, those types of studies can be darned sexy!  Why not be sexy!  Hey, that would land her an assistant professorship!

So Rachel spent a Spring and Summer in the minors, following the fortunes of a small-town minor league team in Georgia called the Mudhens.  She got a small grant for that, expertly using opaque academic language to hide what the research was about.  Academics are devious with their language; they know how to muddy the waters.

The team roster had a youngish roster, as most bush leagues do; paying their players near-starvation wages and traveling in worn-out buses.  And a few older coaches to fill out the maturity factor.  Rachel chose her baseball game wear well: spandex, or short shorts, halter tops, trainers or gaudy heels, and the omnipresent baseball cap for the local bush league team.  With young men in their '20's, you need the signals to be obvious.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the gory details from the numerous postgame couplings in which she acquired data.  Players were easy to get to know; and they were so grateful!  Besides, they were a lot more fun than older professors, creepy drug lords, or ambitious Atlanta bankers; and, unlike them, players were used to showering after work!

Some interesting factoids she managed to accumulate:

1)  Baseball annies tended to have a sense of sisterhood, rather than viewing each other as rivals;

2)  Team owners seemed to regard them as paradoxical stabilizing factors, plus the annies do buy game tickets!

3)  Very few baseball annies were monogamous as the fictional and estimable Annie Savoy was;

4)  Annies would share lodgings when the team would go on road trips.  There was a mutual respect for privacy whenever a baseball bat rested on the wall next to the door.

5)  Coke was their drink of choice; only yahoos drink Pepsi;

6)  Most baseball annies were as knowledgeable about baseball as Annie Savoy was.

Needless to say, Rachel's chosen dissertation topic was well-read by the sociology faculty, many of whom were not on the committee.  Alas, there were no pictures of her collecting data in the field, but here is one:

And she got a first-rate offer from a top-of-the-line Big Ten university in some cold Northern state too far away from the data collection source.

*Actually, there are 60 beads.


Sinner Bob said...

A least some still watch minor league baseball.

Linda Kay said...

My daughter arranged a birthday party at a minor league game in San Antonio for my grandson. I guess I wasn't looking for the baseball annies at this game, but did note that the players were just as committed to the game as the major leaguers. Fun observations, Angel. Have a great weekend!

Mike said...

I played softball for 25 years in the minor minor minor minors and never saw an annie.

Anonymous said...

I think they are found mostly in hick towns where people still go to baseball

allenwoodhaven said...

Very entertaining! I guess every group has groupies. Very few in the mental health business and it's best to avoid them.

Big Sky Heidi said...

The Smokies had a few years ago.

Bilbo said...

I'm still looking for the groupies who follow elderly linguist/bloggers.

Grand Crapaud said...

Seasonal monogamy. Like Hollywood!