It's like Christmas
No. It's better than Christmas.
I wasn't expecting it for another few weeks. But there it is...Roger Angell's season recap is available online. When I saw it linked over at Bronx Banter today, I literally got a rush of adrenaline, that burning feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone sneaks up behind you and says "Boo!" or a writer that makes you weepy with a mixture of joy and envy at his every word publishes his recap of the Red Sox' World Series season before you expected him to.
I wrote sometime earlier in the season about a particular phrase Angell wrote about Pedro last year that has stuck with me--"the velvety rock and turn," a heartbreakingly, exquisitely accurate description that hit me like Jacqueline Du Pre playing the Elgar Concerto or looking at one of Edward Weston's photographs or hearing the aria "Un Bel Di" from Madama Butterfly sung by anybody--a beauty so overwhelming it's a bit painful to comprehend, and yet the pain makes it more beautiful, and so on.
I've only read two paragraphs, and it's as far as I can go for now, because the following passage has sent my brain caroming around inside my skull like a well-hit racquetball, and, well, there's only so much I can take:
Because the Sox won, Manny's goof will barely register in Sox fans' winter memories, when compared with their images of him rubbing headmops with Pedro Martinez in the dugout, or once again sloping up to the plate and loosening his voluminous uniform, so loose himself that there's plenty of time-more time than other batters are given-to look at the incoming pitch and think it over and, well, O.K., why not, give it a rip.
"Headmops"!! "His voluminous uniform"!! And, oh, "sloping up to the plate"!! Yes, sloping, the perfect single word, striking the perfect chord, raising precisely the right image...
This is writing built like a Stradivarius. Each new edition of Angell is the absolute best thing about the off-season, and perfect for it, too, meant to be enjoyed first in tiny sips, pauses to stare off into space and contemplate a turn of phrase, and then frequent revisitations.
It's all downhill from here. Until Spring Training, that is.