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Major League Longing: What Comes After Game 7

Major League Longing: What Comes After Game 7

 
jcornelius viaFlickr
October 31, 2011

Glenn Stout has served as the editor of the Best American Sports Writing series since 1991. His latest book is Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year. 

 

Baseball is over again and — for a while — so am I.

As long as I can remember, this game has been my companion. The maple trees in the backyard where I grew up were known only as first base, second and third. The clothesline was an imaginary Green Monster. I fell asleep each night to the static of a distant game on an old radio and dreamed of the roaring crowd. Even now, when I think of "home" I don't think of a house. I think of the bare spot I wore in the grass while batting, the place I ran back to after every imaginary home run.

Now another season has ended. As the sounds that only baseball makes disappear, there is a stillness left behind that feels like nothing else, and I know again I am alone.

The days that used to start with stats and coffee turning cold as I perused the blogs and box scores are done. The morning doesn't mean it's time to "check the West Coast scores." It means "get up and go to work." The news is not for highlights and home runs, but wars and famines and politics.

 

The walks I took with the dog so I could throw the ball and pretend I was cutting down the lead runner at third become simple games of fetch. The phone calls with friends that started with "Can you believe that hit?" and "What was he thinking?" end quickly or aren't made at all. I turn my car radio from AM back to FM. My wife and daughter control the television remote, and I catch up on my reading. And instead of lying awake at night and wondering how in the world he could miss that pitch, I slip into a fast slumber.

It's over, but we've been through this before, baseball and I, and I'm sure I'll survive the winter soon to come. I know, even as the whoops and hollers of baseball's newest world champion fade, that somewhere in the silence that follows, another season will start to make its sound.

There will be trades, Tommy John surgeries and free agent signings for too much money. Even though there will be snow upon the ground, there will also be talk about pitchers and catchers reporting, aging veterans and rookie phenoms.

Something deep inside me will start to stir, and then I'll hear it again; a voice on a playground, a bat meeting a ball, a cheer and a slap on the back. At first it will be faint and far off, but as the days get longer, the sounds of baseball will be back beside me. Soon enough, we will both be ready for another season.

 

Glenn Stout is the author of the Good Sports juvenile series.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/31/141789780/major-league-longing-what-c...

Views: 132

Tags: NPR, after, baseball, hot, season, stove, the, winter

Comment by Kent Austermann on November 1, 2011 at 4:47pm
good stuff. 
Comment by Larry Cicchiello on November 1, 2011 at 5:03pm

I'm slightly depressed and have a void in my life. Can't watch the chess matches going on between the great pitchers and great hitters. (Come on, bust him inside. Come on, go off speed here and you got em. Come on, he's gotta come fat here give it a ride. How can you take a pitch like that? How can you have a runner thrown out in this situation?) May have to move to a warm weather climate. The off season is truly too long for me here in New York!

 

At least I still have my baseball on the center console of my car. At red lights I'm still searching for that perfect changeup grip. People in the cars on the left or right of me sometimes give me strange looks. That's okay because they have the problem, not me. They just don't know what they're missing. Hopefully, they'll come around some day and join US!  

Comment by bob oleary on November 1, 2011 at 6:52pm

It was the strangest, wackiest, weirdest, sloppiest world series I've seen in years.

It was also exciting. full of great comebacks. Had it's share of great defensive plays and great key hitting. 

It was absolutely glorious for St Louis and Just as devastating to Texas.

I hope they don't expand the playoff structure or we'll get more of what we just saw.

Congrats to Mr. LaRussa for going out on top.

Comment by Perry Lee Barber on November 1, 2011 at 9:43pm
Baseball does not have to begin and end with the major league championship season, Glenn. There's so much more to it than that! For those of us who chase the dream from north to south and east to west twelve months out of the year, the endless summer beckons eternally. Be of good cheer: baseball has not abandoned you, it's just hibernating.
Comment by Walt West on November 1, 2011 at 10:13pm

Well, there is the Arizona Fall League, baseball in Mexico, the Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. They do play some of the games on ESPN Deportes too. And there is always youth baseball tournaments to watch. I feel fortunate to live in the Desert SouthWest near Las Vegas where the weather is milder in the winter and can practice outside during the "off season".

But ultimately I agree with Rogers Hornsby "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell
you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

Comment by adrian sondheimer on November 1, 2011 at 11:38pm
A great essay that captures the emptiness lying in the belly when the season ends.  But those pangs make the eventual arrival of spring all the sweeter.  I do admit, however, to envy of those who live in those parts of the US where baseball can be played year round.
Comment by Bill Stanton on November 2, 2011 at 11:07am

Flipping the channels last night, I came across the MLB all stars playing the exhibition series in Taiwan.  It was a pleasant surprise to say the least!

My wife says, "what is this?  I thought baseball was over."

I just laughed, watched Granderson hit a grand slam and she left the room.  haha.

Comment by Perry Lee Barber on March 21, 2012 at 3:21am

Four months after the last comment was posted about Glenn Stout's article, I'm delighted to inform checkswing.com members that the author was just awarded baseball research's most prestigious honor, the Seymour Medal, by the Society For American Baseball Research (SABR) in conjunction with The Nine, a smaller but similarly dedicated group of researchers and writers. Here's a link to the SABR website article recounting the festivities at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center in Tempe, Arizona week before last where Glenn's book Fenway 1912 was recognized as the best of the best: http://bit.ly/zKLiBI.

Congratulations to Glenn Stout, and to checkswing.com for recognizing great writing and sharing it with all of us.

Comment by bob oleary on March 21, 2012 at 9:05am

They went and did it They added another wild card playoff . my fears have been realized. Now if they would just get rid of the DH. .To me that's why the ball games last 4 and 5 hours. That and advertising, especially on FOX.

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