“Baseball is not life. It is a fiction, a metaphor. And a ballplayer is a man who agrees to uphold that metaphor as though lives were at stake.”
David James Duncan
I kept coming back today to look at this image from a minor league game I attended yesterday. The intensity of the men is palpable. Each man is distinct, in his role, and each is giving it his all. Their brains and bodies move in constructive opposition, and yet somehow with the other, preparing for the rapid fire calculations necessary in each man's performance. The image stuck with me for reasons I could not explain.
So I opened my Branch Rickey biography and hit google to research baseball quotes to make sense of it. I read several famous quotes which shared that baseball is a metaphor for life and inspirational sayings from great players about courage and grit. And reread my favorite from Rickey, "Luck is the residue of design". But none explained what compelled me about this black and white snapshot of one moment at a minor league game in Pomona, NY.
And then I came upon this terrific quote from the author David James Duncan and I realized, It's THE STORY. And I finally really understood every baseball game I had ever watched. The umpire, catcher, batter and pitcher in the image embody Duncan's metaphor of every game played. One scene of a great fictional story being written over the course of a season, with innings as paragraphs and games as chapters. And for the first time I even understood the seemingly irrational fan who passionately yells their encouragement or dismay -- as characters in the same story -- they too "upholding that metaphor as though lives were at stake".
"Baseball is not life...." But it makes for a helluva good story.
Stories from the Snap Shack Issue 7 (July 5, 2022)
This blog is produced from my Piermont studio, known by my inner circle as Kate's 'Snap Shack'. Enjoy and share with others in your inner circle.