More than one reader has emailed me over the past two years and said “Baseball? You? I don’t get it, you just don’t seem the type.”
Well, I can’t explain it. I love baseball, loathe football and know about enough about basketball to tell you that Shaq can’t hit freethrows.
Baseball is an odd religion, but I am in the firm grip if its rapturous delirium. When I watch the Red Sox win, it makes me happy. I can tell you Carlton Fisk’s career stats if you want to know more about the Sox. I can also tell you about how Barry Bonds couldn’t throw Sid Bream out as he waddled down the third base line in the 1992 NLCS. (That was October 14th, by the way, of 1992. There’s no explaining what it’s like to be in a cult…) (See, Braves fans recall that moment and get all choked up, although we really enjoy laughing at that ‘roided-up monster, Bonds, because he refused to join the Braves for what would become their best season ever, deriding them as “a bunch of losers.” It makes us happy to know that BB spent September that year watching it on TV. Asshole.) (ANYWAY….if you want to see something funny, walk up to a lifelong Braves fan and start shouting “Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!” We get all choked up.)
I remember that as my baseball obsession deepened, I was ravenous about baseball facts, and I devoured several books, including George Will’s ponderous “Men at Work,” where I discovered that Will and I agree about many things, all of them related somehow to baseball.
But the MAN, the guy you need to read if you’re really curious about baseball, is Thomas Boswell, the baseball writer for the WaPo. He’s written several brilliant books on baseball, including my two favorites: “The Heart of the Order” and “Cracking the Show,” both of which are collections of brilliant essays. If you want to know more about baseball, save the Thomas Boswell books for those desperate February days where it seems like it’s going to be a YEAR before pitchers and catchers report.
To whet your appetite, here’s Boswell’s wrap-up on the World Series that ended last night. It’s not his best, and it might have been filed as he was running out the door to start his brief couple of months when there isn’t baseball that needs covering, but it’s not a bad starter.
Pitchers and catchers report in about five months. Anyone wanna road trip to spring training?