Thursday, November 3, 2016

Baseball and silence

[Hamlet , from a 1611 text in the Bodleian Library.]

As I just told a friend in a letter, I have watched more baseball in the past few weeks than in the past many years. I was hugely happy to see the Cubs win a pennant and a World Series. I am sympathist rather than diehard fan, loyal to those close to me who are loyal to the Cubs.

Whichever way a game went, I found the announcers’ incessant chatter incessantly annoying, particularly when they were swapping statistics that only algorithms could have produced. “Only two catchers have ever,” “The last time a team,” “In 1911 and 1953,” that kind of thing. I know very little about baseball, but it seems to me that the game invites contemplation — watching and waiting and thinking. Joe Buck and company, but especially Buck, sucked all the silence out of the game.

“I gotta use words when I talk to you,” says T. S. Eliot’s Sweeney, but you don’t have to talk all the time . At times I hit Mute.

comments: 3

Stefan said...

Thanks, Michael, for your sympathetic attention and for the Hamlet reference, which I think must have been meant for me. And I couldn't agree with you more about the announcers. Indeed, a friend of mine e-mailed when the Cubs made it to the Series, and although he's a lifelong Cardinals fan, he wished my team well and anticipated an exciting set of games "unless Joe Buck ruins it." The good news is that he couldn't, but not for a lack of trying.

I'm sorry that my previous comment got a little garbled--I hit some button when I shouldn't have--but I'd like to add that Harry Caray knew how to be quiet and let the game work on the viewer. And so, by the way, did Joe Buck's dad. Jack was a Hall of Fame announcer, but his son does not seem to understand why.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m glad I’m not off base in thinking this way. (Pun totally intended.) And yes, the Hamlet line was meant for you.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ll add that at several points in the series, I was tempted to say, “Quiet! I’m trying to watch the game.”