Jewish World Review May 18, 2011 / 14 Iyar, 5771
Baseball as Civic Theater
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Baseball Fan,
It was wholly a pleasure to get your letter wondering how the home team here in
Much better, thank you for asking.
After a fumbling start, the Travs' pitching seems to have kicked in, and they've got a beautiful young ballplayer in center field who's a joy to watch. He looks like the platonic ideal of a ballplayer that was in vogue when I started going to games as a boy in the long-ago '40s and '50s. More often than not, he even plays like that ideal.
All the rained-out games of late seem to have upset the Travs' rhythm, but they'll get their groove back. The Great Flood of 2011, which proceeds apace downriver in poor, engulfed Louisiana, has had far more serious consequences. Besides, imagine all the double-headers the rain has made possible, much to the delight of fans who like their baseball games doubled.
The secret of the Travs' revival this season has been a new manager of the old school who never, never, never gives up. And always levels with players, fans and even reporters.
You ask if you should check out this year's team next time you're up here from south of the (state) border. Do. Take the family out to a Travs game -- best show on dirt, as good ol'
I'm one of those who hated to leave Little Rock's collapsing old ballpark,
But, boy, have I ever been converted! Get yourself out to Dickey-Stephens, the Travs' shining new home and bandbox of a ballpark right on the river. Kick back with a ballpark hot dog and a cold one, and survey the scene on the field and off. (Little Rock snaggle-toothed skyline makes a fine backdrop.)
See where real baseball still lives, which is in the minor leagues. In this case, the Double-A
You confess to being a
It's been half a century now since I saw my first major-league game at the old, original
What a game that was in a boy's eyes.
As for the new ballpark, U.S. Cellular Field doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? Or any ring at all. No wonder Chicagoans keep calling it
The city is much more civilized now, genteel, trendy, almost California-ized here and there. Whole swaths of it have been gentrified. This is not progress. It never is when a town loses its character. Even if its character was dubious.
One cousin of mine still has his father's shoe jack, burnished to a shine and put in a place of honor -- under a spotlight at the end of the long hallway in his posh apartment off
We were a family of cobblers even in the old country, and one of my great regrets is that I never learned to resole a pair of shoes or lead a minyan (the Jewish quorum of 10 for a prayer service) with the competence, the dedication, the intention my father had. It must be the sad plaint of every generation: We are not the men our fathers were.
I miss the grit and grime of old
There is something about imperfection that appeals, just as there is something about a fabricated perfection that appalls. Or maybe it's just my nostalgia overcoming my judgment, which is no match for it.
I may be a South Sider by family, history and class, but I must say the one thing the
I'm kind of sorry for the
While that historic losing streak lasted, it seemed foreordained, and destined to last forever. In '86, when
To this day the memory of that tragic moment unites Bostonians wherever they go or whatever they have become. It wasn't just an error but a shared historical experience. The way the legend of the Lost Cause still unites Southerners.
Who can ever forget that error of errors -- or even remember what team the
Be well, and keep enjoying life and baseball, which for some of us are much the same. You can take it from an
Inky Wretch ]
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