Stephen Hunter, and Me, on Baseball

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | 2 comments »

The Post's Pulitzer-winning movie critic, Stephen Hunter, wrote an essay today about baseball. It is pure genius, and if you haven't read it yet, here's the link. It's touching, insightful, obvious, subtle, subversive and genius.

He writes so much better than most, and so eloquently, what it means to be a baseball fan and how to cope with loving baseball. He takes the now-famous A. Bartlett Giamatti quote and derives even deeper meaning than Commissioner Giamatti even instilled.

It is difficult to be a fan of the current Washington Nationals.

Poor play, mismanagement, divisiveness and contention between the team and the city, continuous injury, scandal and investigation of the scouting department and General Manager, high prices for refreshments, exclusivity of certain sections of the ballpark for the privileged, and a stadium built to provide baseball as entertainment instead of letting the game serve as the primary focal point all are among the laundry list of challenges Nationals fans have to their enjoyment of the local team, for so long missing from the Nation's Capital.

I suppose I should add cranky blog proprietors to that list as well.

But Hunter's main point is correct: Baseball is hard on those who love it. And while I fully endorse his conclusion, I'm sure you have your own coping mechanism. But the moral is the same: One does what one has to in order to continue their love of the game. Some of us love by worship. Some love by immersion in statistics. Some love by monetary gain. Some love by collecting memorabilia. Some love by collecting memories, good and bad.

And some, like myself, and as Mr. Hunter advises, love by hating. And I think it may be an inherent trait, one born of a Know-It-All (guilty, I'm afraid). I hate the things I hate because if I were in charge, I would not do things that way and therefore they are wrong and I hate them. I know what's right and wrong. Others have some grasp of the concepts. Inevitably, though, others' knowledge of right and wrong is faulty, because mine is the only perfect right and wrong.

And that is why I hate. And why I continue to be a fan of the worst team -- and one of the worst-run teams -- in baseball. Because I know what's right. And by picking out and publicizing all the faults, and problems, and misdirections of the team it is my way of making those wrongs right, at least in my own head.

No wonder my daily column is called Good, Bad and Ugly. It's two-thirds negative.

2 comments

  1. Hendo // August 26, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

    Perhaps a quote from Churchill is ridiculously in order here:

    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

  2. denise // August 27, 2008 at 1:14 PM  

    Dave,
    This is why we love you!