The beginning of spring training represents a fine time for ideas. In Seattle, manager Eric Wedge plans on batting Ichiro Suzuki third in the lineup, and Chone Figgins in the leadoff position. The rationalization for this maneuver is protecting against a void at the bottom of the order. In reality though, player performance almost always [...]
McCann, the author of two short story collections and five novels, undoubtedly offered a concise encapsulation while unfurling this lightening quote. He was speaking about his father’s friendship with a legendary Irish boxer named Big Jack Doyle before saying, “All of these stories go so deeply into myth, attaching themselves to boxing, attaching themselves to language, and around again, until we’re in this literary ring together.”
Such is life, and boxing. The closure we receive is in the form of a ring. And yet, even when encased within finite terms and conditions, the fights become memories, which linger indefinitely.
Shall we establish this irrefutable fact straight away? Just as football was perfectly tailored to television, baseball is a perfect match for the Internet. No other sport provides as much material for daily discussion. People can gather in online communities to talk about the game going on, trades which should occur, coaches and general managers who should be fired, and they can do it everyday. Seems a bit fanatical… but oh yeah… fans… right.
My first game there was a real blazer, in ’93. It was hot. The Yankees came back on the Angels, late. They were down 8-1 or something. Rallied and won. From my upper-deck seat, the ball appeared a snowball, flying around, serving the whims of gravitation. It was all I watched… the snowball in the blistering sun…. Slicing through the infield and the sliding men trying to grab it… the snowball… soaring over the fence as the crowd reacts favorably… the snowball… it was everything. I was only vaguely aware that the Yankees had won. It mattered little. I had just seen a show. And I was hooked.
Of rhythmic strings and a bleeding syringe, baseball is often a paradox. The basic game is regulated chaos, carefully confined performance art often disguised in metaphor by swooning scribes drowning in reverie*. This is a show, a worthwhile exhibition, unrehearsed and unpredictable human drama preferably played out under a blazing sun.
Would you believe it, back in 2005, there were actually articles proclaiming that the steroids era was over and that little ball was back? I kid you not. Jason Giambi, oh so hilariously shrunken on a Sports Illustrated cover, was just another symbol [they love those] for a bygone era. An article suggested that the combination of steroids testing and rising young pitching made the game more receptive to the talents of speedsters like Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre. We had evolved beyond Jason Giambi. After a slow start, Giambi wound up crushing 32 home runs that very season, and casual baseball fans collectively just asked themselves who the hell Scott Podsednik is?
Get this. Michael Vick, a superstar quarterback in the National Football League, pulling down an obscene amount of coin to play a game he probably loves, could lose his career because he made sport of watching dogs kill, and die. Good fun for deranged folk.
Well, we have survived another year. Many things have changed, but most fire hydrants remain the same, at least where I live. I will be going out and getting drunk on this grand day. When the masses drink, I join. Who am I to question this sweet ritual? I do not relish being out and [...]