Baseball, like anything else a person can love, can make you better or worse. Moment by moment, it is almost always next; No one is their best when it comes to watching their team’s bullpen explode. But in the long run, and depending on how you use it, all that care is the game and those who play it will make it more or less real to you. How it shakes up is a question of where you put yourself in it, mostly, and what you’re trying to find.
If you insist on sitting in the center of the experience, you will at least take a lot of care in a meaningful way. The people you see will work for you in different roles, and everything that may not happen the way you want it to happen will come as a personal insult. Basically every result will be a bit disappointing. Many people care about baseball (and other things) in this way, either in spite of it or especially because the demand is so low; All you really want is to do. Taking care of yourself in this way is ultimately about hiring yourself as the boss of some people you will never meet and then personally bothering them for the product of their bad work. This commanding position of passive, superior, risk-free denial is not something ideal, like the American dream for a solid, overwhelming majority of Americans, but also a broad point. Taking care of baseball in this way is like watching another TV show or creating another place to express a greater sense of accomplishment – that is the right of every American. But if you want to leave it at that, you can leave it at that.
Roger Angel’s career writing about baseball, which started with a New Yorker The assignment did not end until 1962, when he died last Friday, beginning when he explained to the editor some worldly baseball staff who did not care about the game at all. It happened long ago to qualify as a science, but it was valid enough to be mentioned New Yorker Angel’s farewell editor-in-chief David Remnick. William Shawn sent Angel to Spring Training “to see what you find” and he did it and then continued to do it. “I continued it because I enjoyed it so much and I found a way to write about baseball that was easy for me,” Angel told the saloon in 2000, “like me.”
By then, Angel was already recognized as the best at doing it. “I was once accused of being a poetic winner, which always annoyed me,” he said in a salon interview, “not what I was trying to do. I guess those who said that didn’t really read me, because that’s what I did many times to report. It’s not like everyone else is reporting. I’m reporting on myself, as a fan and as a baseball writer. ” He was poetic, albeit in a way that was more strikingly precise and consistent — accurate words, and nothing else ছাড়া except pyrotechnically virtuosic, but Angel’s stories were journalism, fullstop. Features that he wrote New YorkerAnd it filled the collections my parents bought for me as a child New Yorker Story — Features about people, reported as deeply and humanely as possible, on a timeline that other publications cannot afford their authors. She also blogs, and has been the magazine’s fiction editor for decades, but she did the best she could of these features. Which, at the same time, wrote some better, cleaner, clearer sentences about one of the most written things in American life and finds out what was most humane or meaningful in any story and then kindly leads. It’s up front.
In Lit Hub, Michael Lindgren writes that he “learned to read and write Roger Angel,” and I think I did too. I didn’t know it was happening, but I knew it Something There was when I was a kid, and I cared for baseball with my whole hungry body, the way kids do before they find other things to care for. I wanted to know everything about it, to be filled with it and to become so. The angel stories I read had the whole game, the mechanical and technical aspects of the performance, and the human chaos and uncertain excitement of the actors where the game was suspended. Little did I know, even in the midst of all my head-turning twinning care, that there really was so much to care for.
In terms of numbers, Angel’s early life seems to be almost too much Picaresk. His father was a co-founder of the organization that became the ACLU and twice ran for president of the Socialist Party; Her mother’s second husband was Ebie White, who hinted at a contemporary literary style and created Stuart Little; At her father’s home in Manhattan, the family received four different daily newspapers; To his mother in Maine, he caught a flounder at Egmogin Rich and ate breakfast. He grew up on a brown rock in the high east, surrounded by books and pets একটি a macaque monkey he described as “an irresistible bitch” – and helped; The man who took her to Yankee Stadium for the first start of Lefty Gomez’s Hall of Fame career in 1930 was his governess, Mrs. Baker. That’s all true, but it’s also enough to give Wes Anderson a torment.
Angel was 9 years old when Mrs. Baker took him to Gomez’s early beginnings; He told one story and the other New Yorker The 1992 story that some boys remember is probably the biggest single achievement in history. If there’s any irony in the use of the word “immortal” to describe the 5-foot-6, 144-pound Yale halfback Albie Booth, who has never played a professional game, there’s definitely no acid in it. No lie, either: as that story unfolded, Angel saw her in her 70s, and Booth and cyclist Angel ran patiently and rejoiced in the prehistoric Rangers stars she had since destroyed in the ruined Madison Square Garden, they were still with her. There is no indication of consent, but the story goes a long way; Part of why Angel sees players so well is that he grew up before television. As a result, he wrote, “Taking part in a sport meant a lot for adults as well as a boy, because that was the only way you could face the athletes and see what they did.” (Many names he remembers, Angel allowed, had less to do with the rare experience of watching these players play than the music of those names: ” Luque. “) It seems almost rude and unnecessary to write that the screwball he worked on as a teenager did not fool many hitters. He wrote, “I’ve fanned a batter here and there, but in my self-defense I have smoked and ridiculed.”
Of all the things that a person can become with that experience, Angel somehow becomes a minimalist. Or, however, he became a very special and subtle kind of hedonist. He wrote about something he cared about, and it clearly fascinated him even more because he was going to learn more about it, but it was never so outwardly pleasurable. The sentences did exactly what they were supposed to do and nothing more; In order to find out what he is looking for, he highlights the features that he thinks are the most meaningful stories and excludes those that are scattered or distracted. I can’t relate to that restraint or that focus, but as I re-read his things last week টি the reading I did with growing frustration, hiding beneath it like the heat of a storm আমি I found myself jealous of most perspectives, all just stagnant and irresistible. Not just humanity, but the ability to evaluate what is needed about the game and the people who play it – which is really valuable, and fragile and fleeting – while keeping the rest, which is much less beautiful but not less real, in a safe scene.
“Professional sports have a strong grip on us,” Angel wrote of Steve Blas in his 1975 story and what he had to spend on his big league career:
Because they display and glorify extraordinary physical abilities, and the artificial demands of the game for very high rewards create vivid responses. But sometimes, of course, what is happening on the field seems to speak to something deep inside us; We stop cheering and stare in uncomfortable silence, for the man there is no longer a great athlete, no ideal hero, only man – only us. We are no longer in the game.
And yet Angel knew where he was. The value of franchises and salaries have now begun their long climb; There has never been a time when baseball owners cared about something that someone or other people valued in the game could care about. “Sport is no longer a release from the rigid American business world, but its continuity and apotheosis,” Angel continued in the same paragraph. “Those of us (supporters and players alike) who come back to the ballpark in the belief that the game and the rules are unchanged – a continuation of what we have known and liked in the past – are deceiving themselves, perhaps foolishly, perhaps sadly,” , In that salon interview, he was more direct about it. “Things about the connection between baseball and American life, Dream field Things, it hurts me, “Angel said.” There’s a line at the end that says baseball was good when America was good and they’re talking about the nation’s biggest nation riot time and sanctions. What is it? “
It’s understandable that baseball wants to be good, or has ever been essentially good, just as much as you want to believe about America or anything else. But if that belief becomes more unstable from one moment to the next, it is also a delusion in the end. To be worthy of love, one does not have to be perfect, or implicitly or implicitly good, and there is no real value in caring for something that you cannot see clearly. None of this has to be really important, as important as it can be felt; The thing to care about is the aspect that anchors and enhances and enhances not only what you love, but also the person who cares, only through the love of clear eyes. However, consider alternatives.
“We do not like it [ballplayers] We don’t like ourselves as much as we did once, “Angel wrote New Yorker In 1992. “Baseball has become possible from time to time, nothing more, and we fans must make a tremendous effort to rearrange our deeply satirical contemporary mentality so that its old pleasures can reach us.” When that light goes out, it goes out; What keeps it, whatever it puts, seems very valuable.