Roger Angell Newsbeat
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
It was 11–2 Yankees in the end, by which time I was snug in bed with the lights out, reviewing the debacle. There in the dark, I suddenly found myself thinking of Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain,” a bygone, not-always-read-all-the-way-through classic that offers many heavyweight causeries among weakened but gallant TB patients and attending staff in a mountain sanatorium. Action, as I recall (I was seventeen when I first read the book), is outweighed by long-winded—no: short-winded—cogitation and repeated lackadays. And my dozing notion was reinforced when I remembered that two very young Mets starters, Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard, are to be given some days off in the next couple of weeks, to keep them strong for the post-season. I see the three—Harvey is in there, too—swathed in steamer rugs and lying outdoors in a row on reclining deck chairs, in the clean, high Alpine air, while well-paid attendants bring them bouillon and biscuits, and a frail, wistfully hopeful dialogue springs up among them and flows lengthily along while they wonder what’s happening in the real world, a place of news and action, many miles below, and what their chances are of surviving until next week or even—kaff, kaff—all the way till November.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Drew Storen, the Nats’ closer until his demotion to setup guy when, in a midsummer deal, the club picked up the fabled ex-Red Sox, ex-Phillies Jonathan Papelbon, was the main perpetrator and victim of the above-cited Biblical largesse. He presented a red beard and an aura of near-clinical anxiety. Matt Williams, his manager, brought him back again last night, no doubt as a statement of trust, to face Cespedes, who hit the go-ahead (and winning, it turned out) two-run homer on Storen’s second pitch. Storen, one understands, will remember all this for the rest of his life. So will I.
Papelbon (with that irritating Tik-Tok of Oz stare-in and arm-drop now copied by ten thousand kid pitchers) lost the middle game on a pinch-hit home run by Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Manager Williams made all the available moves but never the right one. Everything Mets skipper Terry Collins tried seemed to work out, including his decision to keep the rookie outfielder Michael Conforto in left in the eighth on Wednesday night, where he made a skidding, breathless late grab to save the day and the joy. Has Collins used up the Mets’ seasonal quota of magic with such prodigality?
Hmm. Only Mets fans ask questions like this.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
None of this matters much, to be sure, except as an unexpected reminder of the massive and relentless add-ons and distractions of modern-day ball. The Kiss Camera, the racing mascots, the T-shirt cannonades, the God Bless, the deafening rock, the home-team anthem, the infield sweepers’ dance, the well-plaqued Hall of Heroes, the retired numbers, the gymnasium-sized souvenir shops, the Texas steak restaurant in right (with its roped-off waiting areas thoughtfully supplied with overhead screens), the pizzeria in left, the bleacher kiddie pool, and so on. Fans love this and eat it up, but today’s silent anomaly in Baltimore is a mirror reminder that what’s been taken away from the pastime isn’t the crowd but the game: what we came for and what we partake of now in passing fractions, often seen in a held-up smartphone.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Anybody can stay up till one in the morning. What eats at you, numbs you, puts you into coma watching is the bottomless party: another pop-up, or another three-hop infield grounder that ends the inning and rolls around the next, on and on, perhaps forever. BB ad infinitum.
As stated, I’m glad I wasn’t there—and believe or strongly guess that the the later, game-tying Yankee runs were greeted by outer cheers and inner groans by some or many in pinstripes last night.
It’s all in “Henry V,” or sorta:
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall find themselves bless’d they were not there.
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