Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

several weeks ago my beloved spouse pierced her nose and now she has to soak it in saltwater every night to prevent infection. most nights i read to her from this old book of baseball oral histories gathered in the mid-'60s from ballplayers of 100 years ago. many hilarious stories of a time so long past that the social mores seem almost totally foreign -- ballplayers as second-class citizens; fans on the outfield; rules still in flux as people run the bases backwards on purpose to confuse the opposition; exhibition games spontaneously halted in order to run a race between a ballplayer and a horse. traveling from Detroit to Cleveland, a team went by boat. and, unspoken, the color line segregating black players from white.

i absorbed the book from my dad's collection in junior high or earlier, with his permission, and i've read it a few times. now as i read it again, the past that it evokes is doubled -- the subject of the book is further back in history, and i read it through the filter of having read it before under different circumstances; every time i'd read it before i'd discuss it with Dad. and -- i'm older now, and the poignance of old men reflecting on their past hits closer to home.

what comes through again and again is the affection the players have for each other. there's a picture i wish i could find on the web, of Giants manager John McGraw lying on the grass leaning on his elbow, speaking intimately with Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner, who's squatting, both of them in their uniforms, the caption a quote from one of the book's informants: "It seems like it all happened only yesterday."

last night when we were young.

John, Ry Cooder's Chavez Ravine is a great lite-opera about the dynamics and politics of the making of a ball park, and the community as a whole. Check it out, go Cubs. Dave
Hi Dave! Chavez Ravine has some really cool stuff on it -- I got it from the library a couple months ago.

Go Tigers!
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