* The joy of sections

April 6, 2009

One of the major complaints from fans and (especially) non-fans is that the games take too long.

Don’t look at it as a lot of down time; instead perceive it as a chance to catch up on your reading.

That’s why I love compilations such as those published by The Washington Post‘s Thomas Boswell and Roger Angell, a long-time contributor to The New Yorker and basebal’s de facto laureate. Many of the pieces in such classics as Why Time begins on Opening Day (Boswell) and Five Season: A Baseball Companion (Angell) are just long enough to get through during an inning change, commercial time-out, or pitching substitution. In addition, the editing has been done for you. These volumes, available in paperback, are small and light enough to take to the ballpark without undue difficulty.

Granted, some of the columns are dated, but isn’t that part of the enjoyment of the game — to go back over its history and see hoe much — or how little — things have changed?

You can probably find any of the Boswell/Angell titles at your local used book store or online quite easily. For even more literary enjoyment, go back a couple of generations, to the writings of Paul Gallico, Ring Lardner,  or John Kieran. The prose might be a little purple for modern sensibilities, but remember, “back in the day,” this was it as far as most sports entertainment went.

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