A Good Outing: Roger Angell (1920-2022)

Roger Angell at his Manhattan home. He was sometimes referred to as baseball’s poet laureate, a title he rejected; he called himself a reporter. Credit… Patrick Andrade for The New York Times.

“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team,” he wrote in his book “Five Seasons” (1977). “What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives.”

The bit about “caring” serves a large dollop of sentiment. The seriousness which the spectatorship invests in professional sport looks deucedly perfervid from outside the circle of fandom.

I warm more to the Angell who said, “The stuff about the connection between baseball and American life, the ‘Field of Dreams’ thing, gives me a pain… I hated that movie.”

And the one who “once referred to Ron Darling as ‘the best right-handed part-Chinese Yale history major among the Mets starters,’” and wrote that Carl Yastrzemski, “like so many great hitters, has oddly protuberant eyes.”

(Dwight Garner, “Roger Angell, Who Wrote About Baseball With Passion, Dies at 101,” NYTimes, 5-20-22)

(c) 2022 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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