11 April 2011

Ball Play

“Beckett Silences Yankees and Gives Red Sox Hope”
-- Headline in The New York Times Sports Section,
11 April 2001

Ball is such a sad word, is it not?

Strike. Strike. Strike out. Strike out for where? You can’t go home. You can’t go on first. You can’t go on.

At the same time, I prefer this to … the bench. There are endurable moments.

That’s what I find so wonderful, that not an inning goes by — to speak in the old style — hardly an inning, without some addition to one’s stats however trifling, batting average, home runs, RBIs.

Are? Be? I?

No answer. Only silence. Waiting.

What’s the idea? Stuck up to my diddies in the bleeding mound. Base fellow! What does it mean? What is it meant to mean?

Most Valuable Player:
Whitelaw in the Mound

Base, very base. Ball. Bat. Batter up. Catch. Yankee. Bunt. Well, I won’t go there. Catcher catching the balls in his mitt, cupping the balls in his cup. Is it a sign? Something to do with the batter's box?

Gnaw on the teat of tobacco. Spit. No, not yet.

What’s in the bleachers? The Wave, how is the Wave? Damn the sun.

Time he walked.

Enough, it’s time it ended, in the dugout, too. Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of an endorsement contract.

All this business of a labour to accomplish, before I can end, of a run to score, a truth to recover, in order to say it, before I can end, of an imposed task, once known, long neglected, finally forgotten, to perform, before I can be done with pitching, done with batting, I invented it all, in the hope it would console me, help me to go on, allow me to think of myself as somewhere on the road, moving, between an inning and an out, gaining ground, losing ground, getting lost in the outfield, but somehow in the long run making Fenway.

In other sporting news, Watt’s on second.
A scene from Abbott & Costello Meet Godot

Let us not waste our time in arguing with the umpire! Let us play while we have the chance! It is not every day that we can get up at bat. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would swing the bat equally well, if not better. That is rotation. That is bench strength. To all the team they were addressed, those cheers still ringing in our ears!

In and out. Inning out. The game has no notion of time.

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Swing again. Strike again. Strike better.

In the end, if I can’t steal home at the end of a long day, I will silence the Yankees, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on first, I can’t go on third, I’ll go on.

NOTE: Evidently the Times meant Josh Beckett, who is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and not the late Irish playwright, Samuel. But what do I know about sports?

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