36 Comments

  1. Baseball players in the minor leagues are sometimes referred to as the big-league affiliate’s “farmhands,” but that’s the only (vague) “hand” connection I can come up with, and I’m sure that’s not the intended joke (and I have zero idea what the intended joke is — maybe something about steroids run wild? nahh.).

  2. It’s a purely visual joke, folks. No pun or punchline. Just the absurdity of giant hands playing baseball.

  3. It’s like Thing from The Addams Family came from a whole race of “Things” and started a baseball league.

    Meh, I’ve got nuttin’.

  4. Mark me down in the handball column. Not a great joke but it’s the only thing that seems to work at a single-panel comic level. Why is the batter not wearing a helmet?

  5. We have here a right-hand pitcher and a left-hand batter.

    Literally!

    (It’s a visual take on a verbal pun, I think.)

  6. Let me go on
    Like I blister in the sun
    Let me go on
    Big hands, I know you’re the one

  7. “It’s a purely visual joke, folks. No pun or punchline. Just the absurdity of giant hands playing baseball.”

    Not enough. I realize we just had a discussion about “official” jokes and whether jokes have a requirement of context and that the consensus was mostly liberal but …. come on!… That’s not enough.

    “Handball?”

    …. that could be. But it’s poorly executed and not really enough for a good joke.

  8. Hand signals? I agree with Woozy, the absurdity has to be tied into an aspect of the scene being portrayed. Otherwise you can replace the hands with literally anything and it doesn’t affect the joke at all.

    I think a better “handball” joke would be if the players were actual people and they were using a severed hand as the ball.

  9. …And, no fielders present, either! Maybe it’s a pitching exhibition as some touring teams did?

  10. It is interesting that the hands take on the body positions they’d have if they were people. But that’s not enough.

    Of course, jokes about hands…

  11. I think the author started with the effort of getting the batter arm positions correct; then, I’m thinking, he couldn’t draw the pitcher and just went with the batter, feeling (or maybe, hoping) that that was special enough.

  12. “We have here a right-hand pitcher and a left-hand batter. Literally! (It’s a visual take on a verbal pun, I think.)”

    … but…. but …. but…. It’s not a pun if its just a literal statement. The phrase “right handed pitcher” and a “left-handed batter” just means… they pitch with their right hand and bat with their left so…..

    …. okay… would it be an okay cartoon if it were picture of a car driving but there are no people in it: Instead the arm rests from the seating area behind the driver is reaching forward over the headrest and steering the car?

    … or maybe if there were a huge pile of laundry in the drivers seat driving the car?

  13. Even when it makes sense, I really, really, hate In the Bleachers. Everything about it. Lazy art, weak jokes, potbellied athletes, lack of any point of view. It’s an ongoing experiment in how little effort a comic can get away with once it hits syndication.

  14. Is it a sports strip?

    If so I guess “left handed batter” and “right handed pitcher” are common enough phrases to make puns on. But if that is the intent (and it could be– in fact I’m now thinking it is) then this is on par with cartoon of a movie poster with Kevin Bacon with one of his feet severed and the caption “Footloose!”.

    It’s… it’s not acceptable.

    You leave the obvious lying where they are. You assume everyone who wants to think of it could and has and there is can be no surprise and thus no joke in it. It’s degrading to even touch them.

  15. Woozy says: “We have here a right-hand pitcher and a left-hand batter. Literally! (It’s a visual take on a verbal pun, I think.)”

    … but…. but …. but…. It’s not a pun if its just a literal statement. The phrase “right handed pitcher” and a “left-handed batter” just means… they pitch with their right hand and bat with their left so…..

    I’m still interested in how literal it is or isn’t. Because of the mismatch or switch that Target4Cactus pointed out: The batter, while it (literally?) is a left hand, is not in a left-handed batting stance, but a right-handed batting stance. So I’m not sure we can say it is a left-handed batter, completely.

    We can probably extend this mismatch or switch to the pitcher: While it is a right hand (literally?), the ball is held upwards and on its left side. If the hand, as a whole body, had mini-arms (and mini-hands) I’d think the ball was in its left mini-hand, and about to be pitched left-handed, or anyway left-mini-handed. So I’m not sure we can say it is a right-handed pitcher, completely.

  16. Woozy wrote:

    this is on par with cartoon of a movie poster with Kevin Bacon with one of his feet severed and the caption “Footloose!”.

    I saw a cartoon just like that in the 1980s! It was on a set of stamp-sized stickers for kids, and each sticker had a vocabulary word and a wacky picture-definition. The one for “Footloose” featured a cartoony Kevin Bacon look-alike, with his foot separated at the ankle.

    I can’t remember any other word in the sticker set. Although I was too young to have seen the movie “Footloose!”, I was still aware of the movie and the hype surrounding it, so I appreciated the pun (as kids often do).

    So is this cartoon (the one with the hands) on par with the severed-foot cartoon? Well… yes, pretty much.

  17. This is a perfect illustration of the difficult of distinguishing between “CIDU” and “but what’s the joke” we discussed in the previous thread.

    I don’t know a lot about baseball. I do know that the handedness of the pitcher and the batter interact in a way that’s important, but that’s all. Is there some common phrase that this is playing off of? Because, if not, like woozy said, it’s not really a pun. It’s just a pitcher and a batter, each with a particular hand orientation. Why is this (supposed to be) funnier than if both the pitcher and batter were right hands?

  18. Hey, I got an idea for a cartoon! Draw a water pitcher on the mound! And a bowl of cake batter at home plate! Get it? Pitcher? Batter?

  19. “I don’t know a lot about baseball. I do know that the handedness of the pitcher and the batter interact in a way that’s important, but that’s all. ”

    Same handedness, advantage to the pitcher; different, advantage to the batter. (Occasional exceptions.) But I can’t see how that factors into any sort of joke.

  20. Yes, and that’s why a “southpaw” (left-handed player) had a special value — as a batter, when he would come up to bat, it might throw off the right-handed pitcher. And as a pitcher, he would make the whole batting order of the other team have to adjust their stance and swing.

    Enough that it became very standard to have lefty pitchers, well above the incidence in the general population. So the default, the expectation, was no longer the same, and there were adjustments on both sides.

    This is also where the terminology of someone being “a switch-hitter” came from. That’s a batter who literally can switch between batting left and batting right. Later it became a way of talking about a bisexual.

  21. And than it happened that a switch pitcher was against a switch hitter and it was chaos…. they kept switching to have the advantage as above. So now there is a new rule, the pitcher pick a hand first then the batter.

  22. It amazes me how stubborn some of you are in refusing to acknowledge that sometimes a funny drawing is a funny drawing. Why does there have to be a joke?

  23. Thanks, Powers, I agree that a funny drawing is funny, and can be enough. Of course you recognize that some of seemingly picayune discussion of things like MLB traditions is just-for-fun thread drift, not an insistence that the comic needs that.

  24. “It amazes me how stubborn some of you are in refusing to acknowledge that sometimes a funny drawing is a funny drawing. ”

    True… Let me know when you see a funny drawing.

    Meanwhile we are discussing this “In the Bleachers” panel of two giant hands playing baseball.

  25. Ah, I understand the pitcher now; he’s doing the standard prep of hand in glove in front of his face. The two arms are represented by the one thumb.

  26. Yes, In the Bleachers is exclusively a sports strip. Sometimes it’s really lame, but sometimes it really is funny — at least to sports fans.

    sometimes a funny drawing is a funny drawing. Why does there have to be a joke? — If this were a funny drawing, I might see your point here.

  27. Maybe not generic baseball. Maybe this is the Boston Red Sox and the hands are touching hands?

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