In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
(Note: This article may have spoilers to Amazing Spider-Man 2, since I reference a major storyline that I’m going to guess shows up in the movie. It’s in the second-to-final paragraph before the jump, if you want to know what to skip to avoid the spoiler.)
As the sequel to the reboot of Spider-Man comes out, entitled The Amazing Spider-Man 2, now is as good as any to do a Bizarre Baseball Culture on a comic entirely about Spider-Man and his baseball fandom. Now, ole’ Web-Head is no stranger to Bizarre Baseball Culture, having shown up in the past on at least three occasions (most recently fighting Doctor Doom alongside Billy the Marlin), but those were promotional comics that happened to feature Spider-Man. This time, we are looking at an honest-to-goodness Spider-Man comic: Peter Parker Spider-Man (Volume 2) #33. This issue from 2001 is about Peter Parker’s relation with his late Uncle Ben, and how baseball was a bond between them.
Now, before we begin, I’d like to write a bit about Spider-Man in general. What made the Marvel characters different when they first started appearing in the 1960s was that they were, in general, more relatable and flawed than the DC counterparts and the Marvel superheroes that had been created in the 30s and 40s. The Fantastic Four was often bickering with each other (like an family does), the X-Men were shunned by most of society (Stan Lee has said that being a mutant is basically meant to be a stand-in for being a minority), the Hulk was shunned by basically all of society… and Spider-Man, for lack of a better term, was a loser.
Okay, maybe not a loser, but definitely the closest thing there had been up to that point: an unpopular kid with no parents, only one family member of any sort (Aunt May) and little money. To make matters worse, when supervillains weren’t coming after him, the press and/or the police were. If things could go wrong for Peter Parker, they probably have. Parents? Dead. Uncle? Dead. Aunt? Perpetually sick. First true love (Gwen Stacy)? Murdered (and, amazingly, never came back to life). Second true love (Mary Jane)? Marriage magically annulled in a story far too stupid to talk about. Heck, while I haven’t read it, apparently most recently poor Peter Parker saw his body body-snatched by Doctor Ocopus while he was forced to die in “Doc Ock’s” cancer-ridden body (don’t worry, he got better). But all of this pales in comparison to the greatest, most horrible fate to ever fall upon Spider-Man:
Being a fan of the New York Mets.