All posts tagged: Crash Davis

Nats Forget Basics and Lose a Season

Crash Davis said it best. Baseball is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball… Last evening and early this morning as they faced an elimination game, the Nats forgot how to throw the ball, catch the ball, and hit the ball. And so – no surprise – their season ended. Throw the ball.  A simple task.  Unless you are Gio Gonzalez and can’t throw a strike with the bases loaded. Unless you are Aaron Barrett, and can’t find your catcher on two consecutive tosses (including an intentional Ball 4). Unless you are Adam LaRoche and you throw home when no one is actually coming home. Catch the ball.  Another simple task.  Unless you are Gio (there he is again), and you do your best Billy Buckner impersonation and can’t pick up a gift of a double play ball that dribbles through your legs.  Unless you are Gio, Anthony Rendon, and Wilson Ramos who converge on a sacrifice bunt – a gift of an out – and …

Playing Favorites

I picked up Top of the Order:  25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player during the Politics & Prose sale a couple of weeks ago.  Only a handful of the writers were familiar and the inclusion of Michael Jordan (yes, that MJ) and the fictional Crash Davis in the list of favorites indicated this anthology was going to take a different tack from the typical list of baseball’s greatest hits. Top of the Order is, at best, uneven.  I couldn’t wait to get through some of the self-indulgent essays (see Pat Jordan on Tom Seaver) which were more about the author than I cared to read.  At their best, some of the essays captured the special nature of fandom (see the obsessive Darin Strauss on Mariano Rivera) where you didn’t mind the intrusion of the writer.  Steve Almond leads off with a strong piece on Rickey Henderson that hooks the reader into this quirky collection.  Neal Pollack writes a terrific essay on Greg Maddux that demonstrates how dominant Mad Dog was through so many years …

It Breaks Your Heart

A. Bartlett Giamatti said it best. It breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.  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. Giamatti – the former president of Yale and the great commissioner of baseball who banned Pete Rose for life and then died of a heart attack 8 days later – was writing about an earlier Red Sox loss on the last day of the season many years ago.  But the “breaking your heart” line applies in all sorts of baseball situations. Friday evening, on the last day of my summer vacation before heading back to work, the MLB-worst Washington Nationals played the division leading St. Louis Cardinals like they were equals.  Young Nationals “ace” John Lannan matched recently acquired and crafty veteran John Smoltz pitch-for-pitch through a well-played ball game that took only a little over two …