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

it's tongue and cheek, but from a spectator's point of view it throws a little bit of interest in there," Brown says. furniture stores Chicago

duty-bound to know everything that was happening. That time is gone, but I still feel traces of the instinct,. taxi for delhi jaipur

Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time.. judi bola online

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article..lose weight diet

strange and political from the jump. He was a combat-ready culture warrior claiming redneck status with jaw-jut defiance back when Larry the Cable Guy was still bombing in clubs under his government name
cherry trade app

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.Incredible Dream Machine System PDF

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. buy fast instagram likes

Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!.recommended stampe

Awesome work! That is quite appreciated. I hope you’ll get more success. https://www.topsuperfoodsonline.com/health-benefits-of-moringa/

It’s really such nice information to get advantage from. WASP

zeg iets als: “We zijn opgetogen om het nieuwe Master Presenter seminar aan te kondigen. Klik op de ‘Vind ik leuk’ knop als jij denkt dat het een goed idee is als ZZP’ers hun presentatievaardigheden verbeteren” website marketing

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. Luggage

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..clash of clans dicas . hack hungry shark evolution

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article..concrete patio ma

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.cccam server

even slightly observe information. I actually have been executing this section and absolutely everyone else’.
clarividente

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire/Simple+Off-Grid+System+-+UPDATED+Review+of+Teslas+Off-Grid+Generator+Released/10899625.html

I did not recognize him. He had no bag, nor the long hair, nor the same vigor that he used to have. But he smiled, and I knew him again...buying real instagram followers

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it…garage door repair boulder 24/7

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...https://www.facebook.com/salvationdiets

Thanks so much for this information. I have to let you know I concur on several of the points you make here and others may require some further review, but I can see your viewpoint.

Language of Desire PDF

SAIS alumni got together and enjoyed a talk with former Tunisian Finance Ministry official Safia Hachicha ’04 on February 1 at La Plaza.orange county movers

I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.decorative concrete walkway nh

Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that. probate lawyer

Hubwit is a refreshing change. I stumbled upon this site while searching for work-form-home options. . buy visitors

hackingblock.com Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that. hackingblock.com

Two full thumbs up for this magneficent article of yours. I've really enjoyed reading this article today and I think this might be one of the best article that I've read yet. Please, keep this work going on in the same quality.http://edprotocolreview.co/ed-freedom-review/

Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here. http://www.makehimdesireyou.net

This is an excellent post I seen thanks to share it. It is really what I wanted to see hope in future you will continue for sharing such a excellent post.
Hypnotic suggestion

I will prefer this blog because it has much more informative stuff.Businessman

I thought haven’t read such distinctive material anywhere else on-line. http://www.digitalproductblueprintreview.netwww.digitalproductblueprintreview.net

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting..buying active instagram followers

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.Maduras Mature Tube

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. ..How To Read A Man System

Nice information, nice explanation you have there and of course it gone greater with design on your site, no wonder if there is so many people love this blog..konveksi jakarta

Hi I was searching for the blogs for many times, now I have reached at the right place.fb-vertrieb.de Joerg Amsel

But do something to reframe your capital-F Football-saturated mind for a moment—I recommend YouTube videos of puppies rolling around on fluffy duvets—and look again at Harrison’s admission.aioporn.com free porn tube

informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. taxi in ajmer

An obvious place to retreat would be Major League Baseball: watching it, talking about it, writing about it.толстовки

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. http://forum.support.xerox.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/72188

You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article! Buy Blog comments

I really thank you for the valuable info on this great subject and look forward to more great posts. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty article with me.decorative concrete walkway nh

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