I really enjoy watching Kenley Jansen pitch for the Braves. Big guy, great stuff, confidence, old school motion. And he closes a lot of games with authority. It’s also great to see how he roots for and talks to the younger players.


Great Writing Finds a Way

After writing about baseball, I have stumbled into the world that is amazing sports writing. I’ve always read about sports but seldom baseball. With the news of Roger Angell’s passing, I think it’s time to dive into some high quality writing about baseball.

From the New Yorker, here’s what Roger wrote in a recent book of more personal writing:

“Getting old is the second-biggest surprise of my life, but the first, by a mile, is our unceasing need for deep attachment and intimate love,” he wrote in “This Old Man.” “I believe that everyone in the world wants to be with someone else tonight, together in the dark, with the sweet warmth of a hip or a foot or a bare expanse of shoulder within reach.”

If a passage like this is anything like what Roger brought to his baseball writing, I’m excited to check it out. I imagine there’s a Frank Deford book that could stand a little attention as well.

On Baseball

I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately. I was never much of a fan but something about it has grabbed me now that I’m older.

I started watching last season. It was a way to connect with my Mom who is a Braves fan. It was a way to find some grounds on which to connect with random people in my life who are fans. It was about connection.

Now that I’ve been watching for a year or so, my appreciation has deepened. There are a few things about baseball that have hooked me.

The pace means you can have a conversation or flip through a magazine or other stuff while it’s on. Not that the game is background but it’s a pace that lets the humanity of the game breathe out. There’s no breathless constant commentary. There’s often a silence broken only by the pop of the ball in the catchers mitt.

The storylines that continue from game to game and series to series are a drama amidst the larger story of success or defeat for the team. Each player has an ebb and flow to their season, their series, their game, or even their at bat. The announcers have their stories. Even the stadiums are full of history and ghosts whispering beneath the bleachers.

The strategy that exists in all the corners of the game often lies hidden. The small nod of a manager to tell a batter to swing away is like the thumbs up of a Roman emperor. The merest flinch of the base runner to tip off that he might steal is a ruse or not. A decision to let a pitcher move past 100 pitches into the 8th inning might bring the game to its knees. Everything that happens has multiple layers of meaning.

It’s the numbers, my god, the numbers.

There are layers upon layers of narrative that combined resemble something more like an epic novel than anything else.

This what I have come to love about baseball. It can be something you detest in one moment, cry at in another, and clutch to your chest in hope or despair.

I’m certainly not saying anything about baseball that hasn’t been said by much better writers than I. But, baseball has an answer for that because the story it tells each of us is unique. It can be ours alone and yet connect us to the multitude at the same time. What a bit of magic in this fractured world.

In what year did pitchers become “very serious players” instead of the characters and bon vivants of the game? I get there’s a lot of money blowing around but have a little fun. ⚾

Now that the Cleveland Indians are becoming the Cleveland Guardians, I would like to announce my three favorite choices for the Atlanta Braves ⚾:

Atlanta Pinecones / Atlanta Peanuts / Atlanta Traffic

I know some folks want to get moralistic about all this “sticky stuff” talk in baseball. For me, it’s about a more exciting and less predictable game. I think the games have simply been more interesting since this ruling came down. ⚾

Lewis Hamilton overcomes a 10 second penalty after an early tussle with Max. I know opinions abound but it’s hard to brook any argument that says Hamilton isn’t the best F1 driver of all time. 🐐🏎️

I know the All-Star Break is a nice special event. I’m ready to get back to the rhythm of regular season games. Hoping the Braves start to climb above .500. ⚾️

An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍