Baseball. Will I ever know what it really is?
A game of balls and strikes and outs. Yeah, and The Sun Also Rises is about bullfighting.
If there is any true analog to baseball in literature, it is, in fact, Hemingway. I studied Hemingway's works extensively as an undergraduate; I would say he is my all-time favorite canonical author. The short, meticulous sentences, the "iceberg theory" he invented as a method for fiction--in which the actual words on the page are just a small percentage of what is actually happening in the story. Hemingway is like music that way; or, like a kind of literary pontillist.
Baseball is that way. Balls, strikes, outs, wins and losses are just scratching the surface. Baseball is so many things at once I feel like I could spend my entire life writing about it, investigating it, watching it, and I still would barely have understood it.
Baseball for me lately has been like a dream I can barely remember, just the scraps and snatches I catch of it in passing while caught up in the whirlwind of my petty worries. Keith Foulke's continued tendency to give up two-run homers. A sound bite from Varitek this morning claiming responsibility for yesterday's instance, a lame-duck luck shot into the shadowy right-field corner by Mark Teixeira--Varitek said it was his shortcoming with pitch selection. The passing glimpse of Terry Francona, bald pate gleaming in the Texas sunshine, sitting in the press booth while serving out his suspension over last week's beanball war with Tampa Bay.
I know vaguely that the Sox are at least a .500 team; I know that Schilling is on the DL, as well as Wells, and Bronson Arroyo is due to receive a heavy suspension. Faintly I recall the name of Wade Miller, the one time I saw him on television, blonde and gruff-looking.
Is this what the pundits were predicting I'd do, now that the Sox reached the Promised Land? Lose interest? Wander off in search of other pursuits?
Or is April baseball in Boston always like this--a slow return from hibernation, details caught on the fly, energy conserved for the summer's intensity, your men out there somewhere, playing slow-motion, figures in your dreams?