All posts tagged: Thomas Boswell

60 Lessons From 60 Years

Here are 60 things I’ve learned in my (now) 60 years of life: 1.  Discipline is remembering what you really want. 2.  The graveyard is full of folks who thought the world couldn’t get along without them. (Mary Dixie Bearden Brown and others) 3.  Baseball is (much) better than football. 4.  I have been lucky in love. 5.  Few things sound better than a solo acoustic guitar played by Doc Watson (Deep River Blues), Tony Rice, (Shenandoah), or Norman Blake (Church Street Blues). Or, if you want to go next generation, Bryan Sutton (Texas Gales). 6.  Good things can come from bad situations, if you’ll stop wallowing in your sorrow and seek out the good. 7.  I have become my father.  I repeat many of the same stories. (Did you know that I paid more for my last car than for my first house?)  I read funny articles from the newspaper out loud at the dining room table, sometimes to the consternation of my wife and children. I cackle when I laugh. I am a …

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 …

Punctuation Mark!!!

Could there be a better way to end the regular season? Let me answer that for you. Nope. Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals unassuming #2 starter who doesn’t do much except pour strikes into the zone pitch after pitch – and then more times than not come out with a win – throws a no-hitter in game 162 of the 2014 regular season. For those lucky enough to be there (like a number of my friends) – what a memory.  For those of us watching on television, it was riveting baseball. I have to admit, when the ball was hit to the left field gap with two outs in the 9th, I could only think of Souza’s dropping a fly ball on Friday evening. I thought the no-no was over. But nope, Steven Souza, Jr. made an incredible catch, and history was made. Thomas Boswell wrote that the game “felt like a fitting coda to the season but also a perfect prelude to the playoffs.” I loved manager Matt Williams’ comment.  At his post-game interview, he …

You Know You’re in a Pennant Race…

You know you’re in a pennant race when… …you are passing the peace during a Sunday service, and all of a sudden you find that two other parishioners around you also check the west coast baseball scores when they get up in the middle of a night for a bio break.  (And no, I was not the person who started this conversation.) …you curse the schedule makers who put so many of your team’s games on the west coast during a period when you’re trying to catch up on sleep. …you turn to the sports pages (on your iPad, of course) to find the latest Tom Boswell column about – what else – pennant races. …magic numbers seem to grow instead of shrink. …you want to call everyone you know to ask them if they saw Bryce Harper barely miss the “Hit it Here Cafe” target at Safeco Field on Sunday – a monster blast off the cafe windows. …you curse the schedule makers who obviously gave the other team you are battling in your …

The Streaks Continue!

What a month for baseball! During August, I’ve seen four major league games in four different cities and was able to cheer four home teams to wins. For the Nationals, they are on a ten game winning streak. Five of the last six have been by walk-offs. Last evening those two streaks converged. Candice and I had tickets for Thursday’s late-afternoon game between the Nationals and  Arizona. The Nats came into the contest having won 9 in a row, including a terrific walk-off win the night before. We arrived early enough to pick up our Ian Desmond bobble-heads (Desmond is the one to the right of catcher Wilson Ramos in the photo at the top of the post) and with great anticipation for another magical evening. But while picking up the Desmond bobble-head was easy enough, the Nats needed someone to pick up their offense.  They hit well enough – until a runner touched second base.  Then the Diamondback pitchers all turned into Cy Young. Twice the Nats left the bases loaded, for crying out …

10 Reasons Super Bowl 48 Will Be My Last…

…or how I came to the decision to stop watching NFL football. Long before Super Bowl 48 came to an end and Seahawk fans were dancing in the streets of Seattle, the realization that pro football had lost any fascination for me – and, in fact, was beginning to feel like a really bad choice for how to spend 3 – 9 hours on approximately 20 fall and winter Sundays – had begun to sink in.  But being away from the games for a few weeks and with some time to think, I’ve come to the conclusion that not watching pro football is a great change to make for my Next Third of life. Football has always been a distant second to my real love of baseball.  I still subscribe to Tom Boswell’s Why Baseball is So Much Better Than Football philosophy.  (Reason #63: The baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, N.Y., beside James Fenimore Cooper’s Lake Glimmerglass; the football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio, beside the freeway.)  But I’ve always watched football …

Summer Reading 2013, Part II: Or How the Nats Lost Their Way

Technically, I read Shawn Green’s unique little memoir/meditation The Way of Baseball before summer began, but after a night at the ballpark watching our Nats utterly fold in a three-game series sweep by the division leading Braves and reading Tom Boswell’s insightful (as always) column about how this year’s season went so wrong, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed this book. Let’s begin with Boswell and the Nats. For two-thirds of a season we’ve been told that the Nats had “too much talent” to keep playing this poorly, and that they would switch it on in time to get back in the pennant race.  But the Braves put an end to that kind of talk, with as utterly dominating a three-game series as you could have where the total run differential was only 5 runs for the three games.  Boswell put it best when he described the sweep as “an execution by proper execution.” Amen. The Nats played so effortlessly last year that it is easy to forget how difficult baseball can be …