The Baseball Desert

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago

Say it is so, Joe. The White Sox did it - a great 1-0 victory last night, a sweep of the Astros (including two wins against the previously invincible Brad Lidge) and an 11-1 record this postseason. I was rooting for the Astros all the way, but this morning I have to tip my hat to a great baseball team - they proved that they were for real and fully deserve this historic win.

For this Red Sox fan the postseason didn't have quite the same ending as last year, but there is one feeling that remains the same. As Fox ran its World Series montage with the closing credits of its broadcast, I felt the melancholy that others had already started to feel. Baseball's long and intensive schedule means that it's an integral part of your life for almost eight months a year, and then you wake up one October morning and it's gone. As A. Bartlett Giamatti once wrote:
The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
The winter months stretch bleakly before us, but I console myself with the fact that spring will roll around and baseball will once more assume its rightful place.

I began the season with Thomas Boswell's "Why Time Begins On Opening Day", and that seems as good a place as any to draw the curtain on the 2005 season:
The ways that baseball insinuates itself into the empty corners, cheering up the odd hour, are almost too ingrained to notice. Tape at eleven, the scores before bed, the Monday and Saturday games of the week. Into how many conversations will Steinbrenner's name creep, so that we may gauge the judgements of our friends, catch a glimpse of their values on the sly? The amateur statistician and the armchair strategist in us is roused. What fan doesn't have a new system for grading relief pitchers, or a theory on why the Expos never win?

Sure, opening day is baseball's bandwagon. Pundits and politicians and every prose poet on the continent jumps on board for a few days. But they're gone soon, off in search of some other windy event worthy of their attention. Then, once more, all those long, slow months of baseball are left to us. And our time can begin again.
Our time begins again on April 3rd in Arlington.