I wrote a bit about Roger Angell here last Sunday when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as winner of the the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the first sportswriter ever who hadn't been a member of the Baseball Writers Association. That's because its membership requires working on a daily publication, and the 93-year-old Angell had the temerity to do his work throughout his career for a weekly, The New Yorker. Thanks to Chris Dunn for point me to this. The New Yorker honored its Roger Angell for his induction into the Hall of Fame with links to eight of his great articles, along with a short video with him.
You can find it here.
The video is notable, too, because it includes him reading from my favorite passage of his -- in fact, probably my favorite passage ever written about baseball, in particular the last two sentences -- from his collection, The Summer Game. What he reads is an edited excerpt. Here's the full passage. And for this alone he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. Decades ago.
"Within the ballpark," he writes, "time moves differently, marked by no clock except the events of the game." And then, moments later, Angell gets to the heart of the matter.
Baseball's time is seamless and invisible, a bubble within which players move at exactly the same pace and rhythms as all their predecessors. This is the way the game was played in our youth and in our fathers' youth, and even back then—back in the country days—there must have been the same feeling that time could be stopped. Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly, keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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