Leaving The Ballpark

There are many great things to find in a life spent writing and obsessing about baseball. But it's not everything.
Share |

It recently dawned on me that I’ve been writing about baseball on the internet for four years. This may not seem like a long time, but it is to me. A lot has changed in four years. A lot hasn’t. When I started a baseball blog, Pitchers & Poets, I was 22 years old, unemployed, living in a giant city that was not home; I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I did not know how. Now I’m 26, under-employed, living in a different giant city that is also not home. I still want to be a writer, I still don’t know what I’m doing.

The city that I live in now is Mexico City. I’ve been here since October. I’m still figuring things out. One thing I’ve figured out is that Mexico City is so big and so unwieldy that sometimes, you just need to retreat inward. For me that means watching Law & Order reruns, or going to the movies, or eating dinner at P.F. Chang’s. Sometimes it means staying in the apartment with Janelle and pretending the outside world doesn’t exist. When you live somewhere else, the stupidest-seeming comforts from home begin to take on symbolic importance. An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.

But you shouldn’t always retreat. When you move as a gringo to a place like Mexico City, you have to embrace the mad scale of everything that surrounds you, the persistent volume of the streets, the inevitable stomach problems, the language. Otherwise you feel like you are wasting time, wasting away. For me, that means letting go of baseball this year, ever so gently. It means quitting my keeper league, and opting out of MLB.TV’s automatic renewal program. There was a time when I felt compelled to keep the pulse of baseball, duty-bound to know everything that was happening. That time is gone, but I still feel traces of the instinct, like lingering muscle memory.

I also quit Twitter, which has less to do with baseball and more to do with my own inability to manage time and direct whatever creative energy I have toward productive things. Still, it has had a liberating effect on my baseball fandom. Without an immediate outlet for my frustration about, say Matt Guerrier blowing lead after lead in the Dodger bullpen, I am learning to simply get less frustrated; to direct my energy elsewhere. Twitter is like an IV drip of informational opium—on one hand filling you up with the pleasant buzz of knowledge, and on the other hand sucking away at your energy and clarity of mind. It’s hard to pull the needle out of your arm, but after awhile you start to see things in color again.

In some ways, I picked a stupid time to make this decision. I’m devoting more time of my life than ever before to “being a writer.” The cost of living in Mexico City is low enough that I can actually make writerly earnings a foundational part of my total income.The smart business move would be to bear down, watch a lot of baseball, write a lot about it, and see where my career is in October. But you to spend time in one world at the expense of another. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to say about Major League Baseball, and finding myself less and less comfortable with the notion that I have to say anything at all.

Plus, there is a baseball here too. I hope that by watching it I can rediscover some of the spirit that made me want to write about baseball in the first place. After all, learning is what the best writing is all about. There is much to discover in Mexico. I can approach a fully formed baseball universe without predisposition; learn its culture from scratch, unburdened by knowledge. I can separate the game itself from the baggage of American baseball history as I know it, appreciate the beauty of a single swing or catch without prejudice.

Twenty years ago, the novelist Richard Ford wrote an essay in the New York Times called “Stop Blaming Baseball,” making the long, nostalgic argument that baseball was changing for the worst (“many teams no longer play on actual grass”), then deciding that baseball was not actually worth being so upset over (“It may have broken Bart Giamatti's sentimental heart, but it will never break mine”). The whole thing reads like the work of somebody who has just thought about baseball for the first time, but thinks he has discovered the next theory of relativity. Of course baseball is simultaneously large and small, significant and trivial. That’s the whole point: It’s only a game, but it offers depth as such, and gateways into other less minor subjects.

One of the problems with Ford’s essay is that he sees Bud Selig’s contemporary MLB as the only form of baseball on the planet. He can’t separate the sport—with all its rich layers and history—from the spectacle that surrounds it, or else he sees the spectacle corrupting the sport, which in turn requires viewing baseball as this high, pure institution, which, come on. Ford talks a big game about baseball’s meaninglessness, but he himself is caught up in the search for something bigger. By backing away from American baseball, I’m not trying to make some kind of grand statement like Ford’s “But finally it's not even that important to me.” It’s still important to me. It’s just that other things are too.


Share |

Comments

When you live somewhere else, the stupidest-seeming comforts from home begin to take on symbolic importance. An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.
Navi, GPS & Radar wholesale

Excellent and decent post. I found this much informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.answering phone

I would never want to miss out any opportunity to read out your contents.Calgary Driving lessons

I like your post. It is good to see you verbalize from the heart and clarity on this important subject can be easily observed. more info view site...cccam server

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. virgin malaysian hair weave

Your blog provided us with valuable to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging..
debt counseling

Carros - Autos usados en Estados Unidos, Venta de autos usados baratos, Subasta de carros, trucks a buen precio, camionetas usadas.
Carros Usados En NJ

An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.picture quiz game app

I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.
How to add likes to your facebook page

Toribio and my brother are best friends from high school, and every few weeks,
How to add likes to your facebook page

There was a time when I felt compelled to keep the pulse of baseball, duty-bound to know everything that was happening. That time is gone, but I still feel traces of the instinct, like lingering muscle memory.Online marketing services with proven results from Marketing1on1.com

Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more...PDF Directory

In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own Blog Engine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it....cleaneatingmama

such an interesting article here Afatogel.com Bandar TerbesarSitusTogel Online Terpercaya. I was searching for something like that for quite a long time and at last I have found it here.
quiz game for kids

I finally found great post here.I will get back here. I just added your blog to my bookmark sites. thanks.Quality posts is the crucial to invite the visitors to visit the web page, that's what this web page is providing..ww2 helmets for sale

There was a time when I felt compelled to keep the pulse of baseball, duty-bound to know everything that was happening. That time is gone, but I still feel traces of the instinct, like lingering muscle memory.
get soundcloud plays ! how to get soundcloud followers

Definitely a great post. Hats off to you ! The information that you have provided is very helpful.
blog comments here

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. הסעות מלוטון ללונדון

I also quit Twitter, which has less to do with baseball and more to do with my own inability to manage time and direct whatever creative energy I have toward productive things. where to buy lingerie online

I can recommend primarily decent and even responsible tips, as a result view it:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ed-protocol-review-hard-facts-124700162.html

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you ! The information that you have provided is very helpful. Blog comments

I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! Its constantly nice when you can not only be informedhttp://boostmytest.com/

I found Hubwit as a transparent s ite, a social hub which is a conglomerate of Buyers and Sellers who are ready to offer online digital consultancy at decent cost.3 week weight loss diet

A company I actually caused appeared to be not skilled and can even slightly observe information. I actually have been executing this section and absolutely everyone else’. I actually are not aware how you would apply it!
unique links dofollow

I hаve read аll the comments аnd suggestions posted bу the visitors fоr this article are vеrу good,We wіll wait fоr уour nеxt article so only.Thanks!buying real instagram followers

It is very good, but look at the information at this address.
Salvation Diet Review

I came alongside your blog bit focusing righteous somewhat bends. Pretty method for adjoining, I pleasure be bookmarking at previously grab your full ascends...
reuters news

City, you have to embrace the mad scale of everything that surrounds you, the persistent volume of the streets.corporate travel providers

League Baseball, and finding myself less and less comfortable with the notion that I have to say anything at all.voyance internet

I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things.Fast cash loans online

It recently dawned on me that I’ve been writing about baseball on the internet for four years. This may not seem like a long time, but it is to me. A lot has changed in four years. buy cheap real instagram followers

Made me want to write about baseball in the first place. After all, learning is what the best writing is all about.Impact windows Palm Beach

With so many books and articles coming up to give gateway to make-money-online field and confusing reader even more on the actual way of earning money, Hubwit is a refreshing change. I stumbled upon this site while searching for work-form-home options. Salvation Diet Free Download

This is surely a very good blog, thanks a lot for sharing such nice information here.emergency electrical Gaithersburg Maryland

The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand new information.
Canada Goose Italia

This written piece gives fastidious understanding yet.click here

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.how to buy car japan

There was a time when I felt compelled to keep the pulse of baseball, duty-bound to know everything that was happening.Recio Billy

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog.. packers and movers pune to hyderabad

It's not my very first time to visit this blog; I’m visiting this daily and acquire superb info from here day by day. getting reddit traffic

Through this post, I know that your good knowledge in playing with all the pieces was very helpful. I notify that this is the first place where I find issues I've been searching for. You have a clever yet attractive way of writing.tips to lose weight fast for women

When you live somewhere else, the stupidest-seeming comforts from home begin to take on symbolic importance. An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.
escorts in lebanon

I hope that by watching it I can rediscover some of the spirit that made me want to write about baseball in the first place. After all, learning is what the best writing is all about.
cheats clash of clans . descargar subway surfers para pc

I even have been getting a lot of helpful and informative material in your web site. Savannah Web Design Company

keeper league, and opting out of MLB.TV’s automatic renewal program. There was a time when I felt compelled to keep the pulse of baseball, duty-bound to know everything that was happening. That time is gone, but I still feel traces of the instinct, like lingering muscle memory.
iphone 6 leather cases 

Excellent and decent post. I found this much informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. likes para instagram

outside world doesn’t exist. When you live somewhere else, the stupidest-seeming comforts from home begin to take on symbolic importance. An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.
escorts in lebanon

I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I did not know how. Now I’m 26, under-employed, living in a different giant city that is also not home. I still want to be a writer, I still don’t know what I’m doing.www.domain.com

I don’t waste my free time that’s why I read the informative things when I got this blog I really enjoyed reading this. local truck driving jobs

This is one of the most important blogs that I have seen, keep it up! http://skinnyfibernetwork.com/skinny-fibre-reviews-and-best-results-in-2014/