Humourless strike has baseball fans behind eight ball

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 1994, 12:00am

WITH the Major League baseball players still on strike I find myself spending a weekday afternoon in such dubious dives as the pool room of the Foreign Correspondent's Club.

I am there waiting for my turn, watching an eight-ball game featuring Chris the Aussie (CA) v Chris the Pommie (CP), and forced to listen to another round of Yankee bashing. CA, four beers and two games ahead of me, shoots, pockets a ball, pauses and says how much he loves the subtle English humour.

Like Benny Hill? I want to inject.

CP nods in agreement.

CA shoots, pockets a ball, pauses, and tells a long, elaborate English joke to prove his point. After the punchline, CP doubles over in hysterical laughter while maintaining stiff upper lip and CA points in my direction, at my non-reaction (the one I usually save for Test cricket results - what another draw after FIVE days? Raaather, jolly good then) and says, ''See?'' ''Americans just don't get it,'' CP says.

''Yes, British humour just flies right over them,'' says CA.

''I get British humour,'' say I.

''You do??'' both ask.

''Yeah, I think the English talk real funny.'' CP didn't get it. CA doubles over in hysterical laughter and almost bites CP's stiff upper lip.

Moral: The Aussies will laugh at anything.

Moral two: FCC pool table has a roll to the left (facing the bar).

Moral three: I must get a life.

Fortunately, the NFL season is almost here with the pre-season practice games/vacations (as in let's play an exhibition game in a foreign country) done and dusted.

But two-time Super Bowl champs Dallas and cross-state rivals Houston got the short straw in the pre-season holiday stakes: while some teams travelled to Barcelona, Tokyo or Berlin, Dallas and Houston played in Mexico City - practically a home game for either team. That's like going all the way to Hollywood, getting on the Dating Game, being chosen by Ms Right On and winning a weekend in Tuen Mun.

To be fair, the Dallas-Houston game did draw over 110,000 people, actually 112,376 people showed up, and paid their hard-earned pesos for an exhibition game. That has to make the suits in the NFL sit up and think long and hard. At this non-play-offs time of year, that many Americans wouldn't even pay to see The Second Coming. The only event I know that would pull in that kind of crowd before the Super Bowl would be O. J.'s trial, if they staged it outdoors. And can you imagine how many would show if they held it in Mexico? But the NFL season is just days away, scheduled to kick off on September 4.

And in a year of changes in the NFL, at least that great American institution still remains the same - Monday Night Football. Although for us in Hong Kong, it's more like Tuesday-morning-call-in-sick-find-someone-with-ESPN-football. (It just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?).