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

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics. detectives madrid centro

Your music is astounding. You have some extremely capable specialists. I wish you the best of accomplishment. detectives madrid centro

Love to read it, Waiting For More new Upgrade and I Currently Study your Recent Article its Great Thanks. I might may inform others to see and always check generally that blog/article. May Lord help you in future. Till then I experiencing your content.
watch series online

Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks. I may can inform others to see and check always this blog/article. May God help you in future. Until then I experiencing your content.
isatphone

This article was written by a real thinking writer. I agree many of the with the solid points made by the writer. I’ll be back. voyance par tel

Wonderful article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It"s fascinating, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own concerning this subject.
Professional carpet cleaning in Saint Augustine

Extraordinary post, you have pointed out some amazing focuses, I also trust this is an exceptionally radiant site. FrSky Transmitter

Wow I dont found any blog/article like this before in my whole life.I will shall tell others to see and check this blog/article
CBD Oil Manufacturer

Wow I dont found any blog/article like this before in my whole life.I will shall tell others to see and check this blog/article
Local Moving

I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. oem service

Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I'll be sure to check back again real soon. auto transmission specialist

Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! SEO expert

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
disney wallpapers

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
toon pics

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
toon pics

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
photos from world cities around the World

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
buy instagram followers from famoid.com

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
Antique Jewellery Necklace Sets

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
https://landsharkhq.com/Political-Analysis-Knowledge-App-Features.html

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
Melbourne flowers delivery

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
nuove mercurial

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. diet plan for weight loss

this is an amazing post I got a great deal of learning in the wake of perusing good fortunes. Topic of online journal is phenomenal there is very nearly everything to peruse, Brilliant post. Vidmate apk

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
Italy Cooking Class

I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me. סטרימר עם קודי

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics. voyance discount

Nice to be visiting your blog once more, it has been months for me. Well this article that ive been waited for therefore long. i want this article to finish my assignment within the faculty, and it has same topic together with your article. Thanks, nice share. properti jogja

It's suitable time to make a few arrangements for the future and the time has come to be glad. I have perused this post and on the off chance that I might I be able to wish to propose you few intriguing things or exhortation. cheap vps server with cpanel

Someone Sometimes with visits your blog regularly and recommended it in my experience to read as well. amazon gift card paypal

Much obliged to you again for all the learning you distribute,Good post. I was exceptionally intrigued by the article, it's entirely rousing I ought to concede. I like going by you site since I generally run over fascinating articles like this one.Great Job, I enormously acknowledge that.Do Keep sharing! Respects, safety glasses

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one. Pheromiss

Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here... golem

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. palavra chave: lacinhos para cachorro

There are so many churches around the world. And I can read the information from this site. palavra chave : roupas de academia baratas

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
regalos para hombres link

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
Competition handling

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
Horsham & East Grinstead

Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. Detective de infidelidades en Madrid.

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
Web Developers NYC

I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point, You just got a new biggest fan!.. http://billsdefensivedrivingschool.com/drivers-ed-san-francisco/

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics. http://herbcohen.one/emotionally-healthy-spirituality-mindfulness/

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
ผลบอลเมื่อคืน

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
CBD Coffee Beans

A debt of gratitude is in order for the site stacked with such a variety of data. Halting by your website assisted me with getting what I was searching for.
microfiber towels

The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. Krim Jeragat Moleek

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
como ser trader

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
UK Recruiting Job Board

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
connexion republics stainless steel jewelry

I have not any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us. mens clothing

Extraordinary post, you have pointed out some amazing focuses, I also trust this is an exceptionally radiant site. Cannabis for sale