Ernie Harwell retired from the Tigers broadcast booth in 2002 but, surprisingly, did not shrivel up and die within 18 months. Nope, instead, he's writing up a storm for the Detroit Free Press and advocating the return of pepper.
I remember newsreels of the St. Louis Cardinals playing pepper before their 1934 World Series games against the Tigers. The Cards were acrobatic, adding all kinds of tricks and gimmicks to their games. Fans loved to watch. And the players also seemed to derive a lot of enjoyment.
Why did pepper disappear? The main reason is that ballclubs began to schedule such structured practice regimes before their games that there was hardly time left to squeeze in a game of pepper. Also, the modern players now can relax before each game in a luxurious clubhouse with their own café -- something more tempting than another kind of pregame exercise.
Ah, the halcyon days of 1934, when baseball clowns would entertain the masses with their acrobatic tomfoolery and when Dominicans had to use separate water fountains! None of this modern day nonsense of La-Z-Boy recliners in the clubhouse and big screen television sets with Atari games and something called a "latte". No wonder the young whippersnappers aren't playing pepper before the game anymore; they're too busy fooling around on laptop computerators, dialing up newfangled statistics like VORP and WARP and GORP!
Also, get off my lawn you butthole surfers.