All posts tagged: Thomas Boswell

No Baseball

No baseball today

Today was to be Opening Day 2020 for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Alas, the Covid-19 virus had other plans for the world. But I have a suggestion for you. Last week the Washington Post asked their writers to name their top sports movies to watch during the coronavirus crisis. They really only needed to have included one. Watch Bull Durham. The best baseball movie ever. Its not even close. I’ve written many times — most recently earlier this month — about my personal spring training regimen of reading a baseball book and watching Bull Durham. I watched the movie again earlier this week, and it didn’t disappoint. Regular readers know how I feel. But don’t just take my word for it. I’ve recently been reading a number of columns about culture and politics by the Post opinion writer Alyssa Rosenberg. She’s smart and a very good writer. So no surprise to learn that she thinks Bull Durham is a great movie, and well deserving of the moniker of a film classic. As her Post colleague Tom Boswell once said a long time ago, “Marianne Moore …

Tribalism and the abandonment of democracy

What do the Houston Astros have to do with the state of our democracy? Let’s see. Baseball—rightly or wrongly—has long been compared to life, or vice-versa. Washington sportswriter Thomas Boswell’s first book was a 1982 collection of essays entitled How Life Imitates the World Series.* In the essay that gave the book its title, Boswell makes the observation that the pressures in baseball differ from those of other sports. It is a pressure that ebbs and flows, day-by-day, over the length of a long season played out every day as opposed to the once a week or twice a week rhythm of the games in football, basketball, or hockey. Yet baseball pressures are heightened at key tipping points, such as during a pennant race, when one’s true character and strength comes through. Just like in real life. What’s more pressure-packed than a World Series? Or an impeachment trial? Recently, it struck me that Boswell’s premise was perfect when the subject—as it often does these days—turns to the future of our democracy. To see how baseball and life …

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 …