Last week the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club was swept by the Royals, then swept the White Sox to tie for first place in the Central, and then on Labor Day lost to the Indians in the first game of the next series. Now, baseball is a funny auld game. Consider that each day is as important to the players as the last day of the season, and then they must immediately forget it happened. Win or loss, it’s water under the bridge. This kind of compartmentalized mental focus is inherent in the game, much as George Will characterizes baseball as requiring great ‘equipoise,’ remaining relaxed until the exact moment of vigorous action. Continue reading
This went up on the USS Rock N Roll blog today:
I think that about a third of a being good improvisor is being an invested human being. Another third of it is being a good listener. And then the final third is being a real weirdo, having a unique point of view.
In honor of the opening week of baseball season, today I’m going to focus on two of the funnest, weirdest points of view I’ve encountered lately. They came up through rewatching that Ken Burns Baseball documentary. Inning 7, chronicling the 1950s, absolutely kills me. (In a good way, but it also in a bad way, considering the Yankees success, on which more later.)
Something about the ’50s really gets me. The Brooklyn Dodgers finally win a Series. The country is idyllic, but rife with social issues which would explode in the ‘60s. Things were perfect, but so terribly off. Though it was published in 1963, I think part of my fascination with the era may well come from the voice of J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, which I read not necessarily every year, but frequently. Rightly or wrongly, I equate his writing style with a very ‘50s sensibility. (That book speaks less to me now than when I first read it at twenty-three, the age of the narrator, but I still sure do like it.) There’s something innocent but also depraved about that whole time period, and about that story. The weird wholesomeness juxtaposed against impending tragedy. Continue reading