The Battered Bastards of Baseball

Mets 6, Indians 0. Matz, in a shutout comeback, struck out nine, and Kid Conforto doubled twice. It was a great game.

So, the title of this post is the title of an amazing baseball documentary that I encourage everyone to watch. It’s about an independent baseball team in Portland, Oregon, during the 1970s. Even if you’re not too into baseball, you’ll find something in this film, because it’s more about the deep mythic heart of baseball and what the sport can be outside of the constraints of an official league. It’s about how human the game is. And it’s really funny, too. You’ll learn what a “Jogarza” is. It’s on Netflix.


 

First Game

 

I was ten years old and half the size

of the players on the field,

and I climbed the steep stairs up to the last row

of Shea Stadium and chose a seat in the wind

and sky hundreds of feet above

the wash of green and the clay borders

of the infield. A speck of a man below

charged through deep centerfield, performing

calculus by running as he tracked the arc

of a fly ball that never reached as high up

as I was. I felt so small, tiny and perched

up in the sky like a crow on a wire,

but I heard the crowd’s roar growing

like a turbine accelerating

and the only thing louder

than the crack of the bat was the thrust

of jet engines above, planes that took off

from LaGuardia, and down below,

my father, a blue dot along the rows

of orange seats, kept score.

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