Baseball, apple pie and logorrhea: defining the national pasttime

For some it's the familiar fragrance of stale hot dogs wafting in the crisp autumn breeze that evokes memories of the baseball playoffs.

Others might associate numbers, such as 1995, the year the Mariners first tasted the postseason, or 11, the digits on the back of Edgar Martinez' uniform, with baseball in October.

I wish a smell, a number or even a snippet of music elicited playoffs memories for me. Instead, I associate an obscure word with our national pastime.

My first brush with the word logorrhea was not a pleasant experience. Due to a scheduling conflict I was attending a play with my wife on the same night a crucial playoff game was scheduled, and I was trying to determine the length of the performance.

Scanning a review of the play in the newspaper, I came across the following ill-boding description of the main character: the actor's "logorrhea is apparently contagious," charged the critic. Logorrhea didn't sound good, and the dictionary confirmed my suspicion: it means an inability to shut up.

Reading further, two details grabbed my attention: the play clocked in at four hours, and the first portion featured an hour-long soliloquy by the creature afflicted with logorrhea. At least with this bit of knowledge, I theorized, I could hatch an escape plan to get to the sports bar during one of the two intermissions.

I carefully developed a formula taking into account estimated intermission times, the round-trip distance to the bar and, most importantly, the variable factor of my wife's level of patience.

Unfortunately, after a mind-numbing, convoluted 60-minute diatribe, the intermission I had calculated into my algorithm failed to transpire. Instead, the incessant rambling segued into the second act with no break for another full hour.

As the lights finally came on, revealing my glazed eyes, I knew the game was long over and I might as well abort my plan.

Slouching around the lobby, I wondered why they didn't have a lounge somewhere in the theater with CNN running continuously. After all, everyone should have a chance to keep abreast of world events and, most importantly, have a sports ticker at their disposal. My mood soured even further when I realized it was impossible to commiserate with fellow baseball fans: it's hard to detect possible allies without the telltale ensemble of baseball caps and replica jerseys.

It's funny how one can discover a word they've never encountered before, and instantly it is etched in memory for eternity. Usually I've found such words to have negative connotations - words like "ebola" and "hanging chads."

Lily Tomlin, the actress and comedian, once said: "Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain." She might be right. If there were no such word as logorrhea, I wouldn't have nearly as much fun complaining about my adventure at the theater.

As I watch the playoffs this year, I will quarantine myself from all long-winded actors. The only form of logorrhea I expect to encounter is from an announcer, which I can quickly expunge with the click of the mute button.

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