The following article was published in the Sports Illustrated of October 12, 2015. It is reprinted here by the kind permission of those who not only commissioned the article, but helped with the logistics of getting Mike Epstein back to Washington so as to wash the sin from my hands. So, hey, when Judgment Day comes, they at least have this going for them. Thanks, guys. * * * THE STATIC of the broadcast, the AM-band crackle that the cheap transistor spit up every time it swung or bounced—even this I remember. Just as I recall the heat from the water in the hallway fountain, its cooling mechanism never quite functional. And the godawful smell of the secondary wing boys’ room. It is 1971, and I am new to the fifth grade at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School, a few hundred yards north of the D.C. line in suburban Maryland, where everything is perfectly Proustian, perfectly preserved in memory. I have been on the playground, playing strikeout with Firestone and Bjellos...
Some brief correspondence regarding the Chicago Cubs
Email from James Yoshimura, because he is A Northsider, at October 21, 2015, 6:09 pm: “Sisyphus ain’t got shit on me! Go Cubs, Yosh.” Email from David Simon, because he is A Giver, at October 21, 2015, 6:17 pm: “All America is with you. Except for about 80 million of the assholes.” Email from James Yoshimura, still A Northsider, at October 22, 2015, 9:22 a.m. “All of America can go fuck itself. And if it’s looking for Sisyphus, the prick’s drinking with me and will until next spring training.” God help Yosh and all the others laboring in the deep bowels of their dark, forbidding mine. The Cubbies are relentless. They are an anvil, with another anvil tied to them for weight. God help you good people. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditEmailPrint
Gus Triandos (1930-2013)
Apologies for the lack of activity here so far this year. As it happened, the filming of the remaining episodes of Treme required my full attention, and following that endeavor, a couple of prolonged illnesses in the family required additional time. And, well, I owe a lot of script work. If you’ve read the introduction, you know that one of my fears in beginning a blog was that when things got hectic, I would be unable to properly service the damn thing. Certainly, for the first quarter of 2013, this has been the case. * * * What prompts a rapid return is the recent news that former all-star Oriole catcher Gus Triandos has passed away. There are better remembrances and obituaries of the ballplayer to be had, but I can’t help but provide a small, additional anecdote about the man. It is a backstage story that deserves some corner of baseball posterity. The tale begins with Richard Price, the noted novelist and screenwriter who was kind enough to grace...
Best comment of the night, from my younger nephew, a lifelong Baltimore fan: “I don’t know how to process these feelings.” Onward. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditEmailPrint
Orioles on the SI cover
Friends, neighbors, fellow Baltimorons: (And we can call each other Baltimorons, the rest of you can just back away from the term.) I ask you to put down the torches and pitchforks on this obvious affront to the baseball gods. When Sports Illustrated called and asked for an essay they said nothing — nothing — about the cover. It’s a big magazine, with a lot of sports coverage. And I undertook what amounts to a sidebar-next-to-the-main-baseball-piece. And, hey, all of that runs inside the mag as a package right? Had I known about the cover, I would have written half as long, and misspelled every other word, and scrawled it in crayon. Yes, I am worried. Yes, at this instant — if not three days ago — I believe the jinx to be an absolute threat. An SI editor first mentioned the cover in a phone conversation with me on Monday, late afternoon. The O’s had won the first game of the Monday doubleheader, they dropped the second. And then they were...
The Baltimore Orioles major league baseball team. That is all. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditEmailPrint
The video of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera being carted off the field after tearing his ACL and, perhaps, ending his magnificent career, stays fixed in the mind, perhaps because of the open, earnest smile that Rivera flashes to his teammates as he rides the cart back to the training room. The look on his face is so benign, so genuine that in a single image, it seems to summon everything about the man. Okay, I’m an Oriole fan. And before I moved to Baltimore, I grew up in D.C. with the Washington Senators. The Yankees — damn them — are my lifelong bete noir. And I have seen Mariano Rivera go lights out on the home team in so many one- and two-run games that I should rightly be unable to summon anything more than a basic, casual amount of empathy at the idea that at forty-two years of age, with Cooperstown dusting a spot for him, he might not to be able to do it anymore. Except that warm, sheepish smile — as if he’s embarrassed this happened while shagging outfield...