Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Transylvanian shepherds invented baseball

This is from Andrei Codrescu's story, A Kind of Love published in his collection The Muse Is Always Half Dressed in New Orleans and Other Essays, 1995.
Before I saw baseball, I never knew a sport where people didn't worry about the ball all the time. In soccer there is constant competition for the ball--the identity of the player is defined by his possession of the ball. He is the ball.

In baseball there is a different relation between ball and players, and consequently, between game and spectators. The ball is allowed more personality, it is permitted distance. It is stalked rather than gang raped. It is also a dance between two men--a Spanish dance. It is a corrida, a bullfight. The pitcher is a toreador--he stands and acts like one--the batter is the charging bull. The ball is the toreador's life--issuing out of him as an eternal easeto the brute power of the bat. It is a battle between spirit and flesh, between two different kinds of cunning, a cultivated one and a natural one, between civilization and nature.

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