It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen can be linked to everything, whether "everything" has anything to do with her or not. Now it turns out she invented baseball! In a new book, Can We Have Our Balls Back? author Julian Norridge a mention of "base-ball" in Northanger Abbey as evidence that baseball is an English game whose true origins were concealed by the jingoistic Albert Spalding (the hardball guy.) According to Norridge, Spalding set up a commission that ignored historical evidence of the sport's English antecendents and crafted the Cooperstown legend out of whole cloth. Stay tuned for Mr. Bingley's take on the 2008 elections. [Telegraph]