Tag Archives: major league baseball

Game’s Eve

For the first time, tomorrow, I’m going to a Red Sox game.

I’m excited. Really excited. I fell like this is what I’ve been preparing for all this time. This experience.

I’ve read about the history of baseball. I’ve watched documentaries and news clips and autobiographies and biographies and articles. I’ve watched it live and taped and listened to it on the radio. I’ve met (briefly) old players and walked along the infield and even sat in the dugout at Fenway.

And now, just now, I’m going to go to a game.

EEK!

-D-

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The Hellion

There are players where it’s almost impossible to see them as anything but legendary: Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig. Even in their flaws, they’re almost more than human; Babe Ruth’s love of excess and Ted Williams’ temper.

There is one player who goes beyond legend though, in every way. Ty Cobb set almost 120 records, plenty of which are still unbroken almost a century later. He was the best at bat. He was the best on base. He was the best in the field. He was ferocious, relentless, fearless, untiring, unwavering and almost unbeatable for the 20 some odd years he played baseball. Even in his twilight years, he was one of the top players.

He was also the most vicious, vile men to play the game. He never stopped fighting the umpires, the other players, the owners, the fans. He beat one fan brutally, despite the fact that the man had no hands. He took on three muggers single-handedly and beat one to death with his pistol. He hated African-Americans. He railed against integration. He beat one black groundskeeper and then, when the man’s wife intervened, he beat her too.

There is no way to measure the amount of contempt and admiration he managed to garner during and after his career. He spiked other players and spiked the umpires. He stole home 35 times, a record that hasn’t even been approached.  He was sneaky and underhanded. He was a master tactician. He would play so hard that he would bleed and then he would play some more.

He was, with no exaggeration or hyperbole, the greatest baseball player to ever play in the major leagues. He was also, once again with no exaggeration or hyperbole, one the worst human beings to ever play the game.

It is my belief that an angel was ejected from Heaven and sent to Hell, but, on the way down, he decided to play some ball.

Dylan Charles

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The Hat

As part of my baseball learnin’, I wanted to buy something that would mark me as a fan of the Red Sox. You can’t really call yourself a fan until you wander around with a clear label identifying yourself as such. That way, if you see someone wearing a, say, Yankees cap, you can loudly yell, “Yoah grandmothah sucks wicked eggs, ya hoosier!” and then the game is afoot and then there will be a tussle!

I decided on a hat, because I don’t really want to have to wear a parka all through Summer to indicate that, yes, I follow the Red Sox and, yes, I am incapable of planning ahead. A hat is perfect. It works in all seasons. It’s visible. And it can be taken off rapidly if you’re about to run into a huge group of Yankee fans.

Browsing the large selection of hats on the MLB website, I found one and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s chic and has pretty colors and it has style. Look at it!

I’ve become obsessed with it. It glimmers in the virtual shop window like some kind of…hat glimmery thing. I want it. I want to show off my (extremely) new-found allegiance. I want to get into tussles. I want to brag about something I have absolutely no control over. And then…and then…a jersey! So I can show which player I choose to represent me!

“Why yes, I DO consider myself the Dustin Pedroia of retail, how did you know?”

This might, just might, be in danger of turning into a major illness. Is this how it is for all sports fans? Does it all start with a hat?

Dylan Charles

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The Ball

I bought a baseball the other day. The lengths I went to get it were more than one might expect, seeing as how Baseball is out of season. I finally managed to find one right near Fenway Park, an obvious place to buy a ball really.

There’s something intrinsically and inexplicably soothing about holding it. I’ve been tossing it to myself for the last two hours without even thinking about it and I miss it if I’ve set it down somewhere. It’s something that demands to be held and admired. Its appeal is pronounced and unavoidable. And I think I’ve finally figured out what it is.

It is an object that is perfectly executed. It has been designed and tweaked and re-designed and re-tweaked time and time again over over two hundred years. It is what it is supposed to be and it does it perfectly. There is no going back to the drawing board, because it has been there and back already. The materials will change once they develop a new synthetic leather or stitching that never breaks; but on a fundamental level, it’s a finished product.

The baseball is not unique in this. If you’ve ever held a knife that’s balanced and honed or driven a sports car or used a Kindle, I’ve no doubt that you’ve experienced a similar sensation. It’s the sensation of using something that is not going to get any better. It’s the sensation of using something that has been tested and tried and defined a million times over. You’re using something that will not get better because it can not get better. It has reached its peak and when you encounter something like that, then it’s hard to let go of it.

Dylan Charles

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Preparations

As I may have mentioned, I’m getting prepared to watch baseball from season’s beginning to season’s end. The only problem is, I’m not entirely sure what I should do to prepare for this. I’m trying to get caught up to speed on the subject, but I’m not sure where I should go, what I should watch and what I should read to do this.

I’m going to go to Fenway at some point and take a look-see and I’ve already started watching Ken Burns: Baseball (excellent documentary by the way). I just need some more ideas for things to do before the season starts so I’m not completely floundering when the ball starts rolling (Ha! Sports puns).

Ideas?

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B