“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)
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