A Representation of the Dwindling Powers
of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball...
The Cantor Dust. Begin with a line: remove the middle third; then remove the middle third
of the remaining segments; and so on. The Cantor set is the dust of points that remains.
They are infinitely many, but their total length is zero.
—James Gleick, Chaos
Behind the Wheel
On April 28th, way back when I was 40 years old and driving the backroads to Johnsonburg, I saw four bears in the yard, a few dozen deer corpses going to liquid in the endless roadside ditch, and a cat: black with white-starched bib, sitting still and small in the middle of a vast field of scrub—and I felt it shuddering with awareness at the tracers of tiny movements all around.
On May 5th, at 41 and "astride the grave" on another trip to Johnsonburg, I saw eleven bears in the yard, those same deer corpses (a little further gone, a bit more lively), and that same cat in that same field: tail twisting and curled with glee, bib flecked red, ass in the air and eating its fill.
The mind makes a careful accounting of moments like these, strings them together, and goes squinting for parallels in order to build the illusion that it all adds up to a life.
["Bears in the yard" is intensely regional vernacular for ground-hog sightings.]
"I think it would be an excellent idea."
—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, asked, on his arrival in
what he thought of Western Civilization.
"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races [applause]; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people... And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
—Abraham Lincoln, politician, Senate Campaign, (southern) Illinois, September 1858. [HZ ]
You just never do.
[Jaoquin Andujar, pitcher: "Baseball can be summed up in one word: 'youneverknow'."]
A Most Enviable List
MY TOP 10 BASEBALL MEMORIES [Posted to me by Jeffrey "Tune" Klahr of Erie, PA:]
- Buying baseball cards at Frontier Drugs, by the box: $1.20 for 24 packs.
- The All-Star game, 1963, Cleveland Stadium.
Mays, Mantle, Musial, Clemente, Aaron, Yaz, Koufax, Joe Pepitone.
- Closing weekend at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Cleveland versus the Chicago White Sox. Watching
Bo Jackson almost reach the bleachers in batting practice. The old-timers' game on Saturday afternoon. Bill Mazeroski makes a great play at second base. George Foster almost hits one out. The ageless Minnie Minoso acknowledges us as we give him a standing "O" after he runs down a liner to right.
- In 1981, I put together an oldies band that played music from the 50s to the 80s. While we are pondering over a name for the band, I come up with "Willie McCovey," because he played in those four decades.
- Opening Day, 1992. Cleveland Stadium: 19 Innings!
- July 25, 1993. Cleveland versus Seattle. Seventh inning, Seattle up 9-8. Two out, 3-2 count. Albert Belle homers to left field to tie it up. The place goes nuts. It's his second home run of the game, and the crowd won't quit 'til Albert comes back for an encore.
- September, 1984. Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium. 5,000 fans, 4,800 of them Cub fans like myself, watch the Cubbies clinch the National League East. Harry Caray leads everyone into "Take Me Out," the only time he's ever done that away from Wrigley.
- At age eight, I run away from home, telling my parents I'm going to go "live with Roger Maris."
- Taking my son to a baseball game for the first time. It was in April. It was cold and drizzling rain. It was a boring game, his Red Sox beat the Indians 2-1. And he was loving every minute of it.
- Opening Day, 1974. Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In his first at-bat as baseball's first black manager, Frank Robinson hits a home run.
"I believe there are
protons in the universe and the same number of electrons. [2256 x 136]."
—Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, Tarner Lecture, 1938.