Porky’s Pulpit: Barbecue & Baseball

October is hands-down my favorite month of the year.  All of a sudden the 95+ degree weather of North Carolina summer seems to be a distant memory–except when it is still present–and is replaced by cool nights and temperate days.  The leaves change colors but don’t really clog up the gutters until next month.  The sunset is still at a reasonable hour.  You get the picture.  October is also a month full of fun–beer festivals, fall festivals, The Barbecue Festival in Lexington, pig pickings and, notably, playoff baseball.  Of course, October is not the only link between baseball and barbecue.

Similarities
Barbecue and baseball both take a long time, and for much of that time it appears to the casual observer that not much is happening.  Experienced observers know that a lot is happening even when nothing is happening, or so we tell each other.

Barbecue and baseball are consumed by many but fully appreciated by a relative few.  Similarly, baseball snobs and barbecue snobs can be insufferable–I am both so I know.

Making barbecue and watching baseball are perfect times to drink beer.

Eating barbecue and playing baseball are inappropriate times to drink beer.

There is a long history of tobacco in baseball, from early baseball cards coming in packs of cigarettes to chewin’ and spittin’ and the like.  Barbecue has much tobacco-related history too.  (Okay, so pretty much everything connects to tobacco one way or another, admittedly.)

The best barbecue restaurants and baseball stadiums are revered as much for their history as the product they offer.

Differences
Barbecue is made of pork, baseballs are made of cows.

There is often good baseball played north of the Mason-Dixon line; there is rarely good barbecue in that geography.

Baseball’s fan base is eroding, barbecue’s is expanding.

There is no Major League baseball team in North Carolina.  There are several major league barbecue restaurants here.

It takes 18 men to play a game of baseball* and only 1 to make barbecue.  (However, as soon as 1 man starts to cook barbecue, 17 others arrive ready to eat it.)

*Yes, 18, not 20, as I feel the same way about the designated hitter as I do about gas/electric cookers.