Listening to Chicago by Sufjan Stevens
I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since this came out. at EC’s Nook – Preview it on Path.
Sox fans of an earlier generation would have found much to cheer over the past decade, including two World Series titles, and the emergence of the team and its home ballpark, as bona-fide national treasures. Much of the credit for this rightly goes to the current ownership regime, which has been shrewd, and, most importantly, has fielded great teams. But Sox fans of the past might also notice some unsettling developments at Fenway Park. There are crowds decked out in hundreds of dollars worth of team gear, squeezed into expensive seats, and straining, against the good sense that this is just a baseball game, to make every moment of the “experience” count. The same owners who brought victory also created the concept of Red Sox Nation, a kind of corporationopolis that united money, merchandise, regionalism, nostalgia, family, and self-identity into the stew we currently get served every year between April and October. It’s the green of the grass and the red of the dirt and the white of the uniforms, sure. But it’s also Jordan’s Furniture, and Giant Glass, and pink hats, and “Sweet Caroline,” and Ford trucks, and W. B. Mason. Red Sox Nation is a savvy marketing operation, not a functional civic enterprise.
- Ian Crouch, The New Yorker
Read the rest: “Red Sox Nation in Crisis”
photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Most Giants fans, well, not most, but those who understand stats like WHIP, WAR, ZIBBAZABBA, etc., have a pretty low opinion of Jonathan Sanchez. Me, I don’t care. I’m still a little kid. I spent a summer living in Los Angeles in 2009 and couldn’t watch any Giants games. It was pretty much killing me. I had the radio subscription on the MLB website, but was only able to listen to a couple of games. The first week of July that year, I got an email saying I would get a free preview of the online TV subscription. The first game I watched was on July 10, 2009. I was waiting for the girl I was living with to get ready for a birthday dinner for somebody and watching the Giants play the San Diego Padres with Sanchez on the mound. He was mowing hitters down. Unbelievable. He’d always had good stuff, but tended to be wild. Not that night. I was sitting on the couch in Silver Lake, a stone’s throw from Dodger Stadium watching Sanchez absolutely dominate.
I was going crazy. I wouldn’t explain what was happening to my then girlfriend for fear of jinxing it, but I could hardly contain myself. I was rocking back and forth on the couch. It got to the eighth and he still had a perfect game. Uribe made an error on a tough play and a runner reached base, but the no hitter was still intact. Aaron Rowand made an amazing catch against the wall to save the no hitter in the ninth. Sanchez then struck out Everth Cabrera to end it. The first Giants no hitter since 1976, and the first no hitter I had ever watched start to finish. So amazing.
The best part of it was that Sanchez’s dad was in the stands watching it. He had never seen his son pitch in person in a major league game until that night. After the game, he couldn’t sleep and stayed up until the newspapers came out and bought every one he could. I know it’s corny, but I’m pretty sure that made me shed a tear.
Sanchez was traded to the Royals this off-season for Melky Cabrera. Some won’t miss him, but I will. This shot I took in April 2008, when Sanchez started against the Diamondbacks. God damn, I love baseball.
It has not been proven, but I think ultimately it will be proven that the air is thinner now, there have been climactic changes over the last 50 years in the world, and I think that’s one of the reasons balls are carrying much better now than I remember.
Former major league baseball player Frank Robinson watches the unveiling of his bronze sculpture before a baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 28, 2012.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images