Thursday, March 29, 2018

Play ball!

Forget the first flowers appearing, the real sign of spring is opening day.  It is the most American of sports.  It's also the most literary, with a rich history of superb writing from the best American writers, which to me at least adds to its charms.  Offered as proof, here's John Updike's farewell to Ted Williams, who hit a home run in his very last at bat but refused to tip his cap to the home town crowd:
Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out home runs—hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn’t tip his cap. Though we thumped, wept, and chanted “We want Ted” for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he never had and did not now. Gods do not answer letters.

Gods do not answer letters is perhaps the most iconic line ever penned in sports journalism.  The game raises up the ink stained scribblers.  Sometimes, at least.

Baseball has been around for a long, long time.  Over a century of play makes the game old, but each season is new.  So make sure you have some frosty ones in your fridge, and join in the celebration welcoming fairer weather.


ASM826 said...

The only sport I can enjoy watching.

Ken said...

I caught the last three innings of Cleveland-Seattle, courtesy of MLB Radio. Didn't quite go the way I'd hoped, but my Tribe went to the wire. They don't quit.

Old NFO said...

Sadly, I gave up on them after the last strike... Don't watch or listen anymore.