This holiday present is the result of political action – a vote – in which the Baseball Writers named New Yorker magazine’s Roger Angell to the Cooperstown corner honoring the sport’s literary standouts. Angell, check reporting as fan rather than insider, sick is now 93, the dean-emeritus of his colleagues. He writes rarely these days, but did describe a memorable moment in the 2013 season – Mariano Rivera’s last game, September 23d, against the Giants. Here is an excerpt, an end-of-the-year gift for all of us:
“Mariano came on with one out in the eighth, and surrendered a single but no runs, and along the way gave us still again his eloquent entering run from deep center field; the leaning stare-in with upcocked mitt over his heart; the reposeful pre-pitch pause, with his hands at waist level; and then the burning, bending, famed-in-song-and-story cutter. All these, seen once again, have been as familiar to us as our dad’s light cough from the next room, or the dimples on the back of our once-three-year-old daughter’s hands, but, like those, must now only be recalled.
“The game ran down, then ran out, with the Yanks somehow failing to score anybody after putting runners on second and third base with no outs in the bottom of the eighth…Shattered by injuries and with their bullpen worn to a frazzle, the Yankees have lost six of their last nine games…They will be caught by the heels in the next day or two and gobbled up by the statistical werewolf. Baseball, as Bart Giamatti told us, breaks your heart…”
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Happy Holiday until the start of the calendar’s third, and last, non-baseball month.
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