Daughters and Ballgames

You certainly do not need to hear another white male’s perspective on the general awfulness of things — on Ray Rice or Greg Hardy or Jonathan Dwyer or the other unpunished predators populating various highlight reels — that launches from the premise “I have a daughter, so…” But I do have a daughter. She will grow up, and she will venture onto the internet, and she will find herself walking alone at night, and all of those things terrify me, because they contain added dangers for her simply because she was born female. It is hard to know what to tell her about this, or how anything I might tell her could help.

“Daughters and Ballgames,” for The Classical


We put our passions on a game that stretches back nearly a century and a half, which leaves so many seasons that have ended in frustration for all those forgotten teams, their fans left dazed and disappointed. But they have all come back. They have always come back. Scant months later those players congregated again and suited up and began once more the process of training and playing and losing and winning. Spring always comes.

“162,”  on the end of the season for most teams, over at The Classical

The Grandstand

You’re here for baseball — because baseball is love and you’d follow it anywhere — but also just to be in some new place, somewhere removed from life as you so precisely know it. The idea is to get a bit lost, turned around, to temporarily take leave of your bearings.

And it is working, as a shiver runs up the length of your body, starts in your toes and traces a line beneath your skin all the way to your scalp. The night’s getting cool. Put on a sweater and wrap a blanket around your legs; done up like that you are so happy that you don’t know what to do with your arms. You flail a bit, wrap them around yourself, throw them over the back of the bench, fold them on your knees. It is important to remember that it does not matter what you do with your arms.

Really, though, what you want to do is cast your arms wide and embrace the game in front of you. The field and the lights, rich green grass, players in their uniforms made up of elements borrowed without permission from major league teams, the pop songs that play on the tinny, overmatched conical loudspeaker dangling from the roof of the grandstand. All of that: hug it. You want to gather it all in your arms and claim it and never let anyone spoil it. You want to protect it, as it has protected you. This is a reasonable thing to want, but also it’s impossible.

“The Grandstand,” over at The Classical

Updike on Fenway

Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man’s Euclidean determinations and Nature’s beguiling irregularities.

— John Updike, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” which always comes to mind when I watch (televised) games from Fenway

Get Me Over

They may have known success, but they learned not to trust it, because failure haunts their kind. The precariousness of their chosen discipline shines a light back on our own lives: no matter how good things look, we’re all just hanging on by a thread. No matter how in command, no matter how good the stuff, the truth is that we are on defense the entire time, and we will eventually be reminded as much.

“Get Me Over,” on pitchers and the people who love them, for The Classical

Here We Go

The first pitchers and catchers are reporting to camp today, in far distant Arizona. A year ago I marked the event:

[T]he flash of hope I get from that phrase — Pitchers and Catchers Report — feels like jumpstarting a car. It feels like peeling back a dark curtain. It sounds like fresh cut grass smells. If, as I suspect, the only way to confront death is to take pleasure in how we decorate the days beforehand, then I am taking extreme pleasure in those words, their sonority and cadence —Pitchers and Catchers — and the hope they represent. Summer, warmth, colour. I will share these things, and revel in them, and luxuriate in memories of them.

Read the rest here: thebarnstormer.com/reviving-summer/