In Savannah, what had I heard? I know the expected sounds had come to my ears because I had been at the game, and so much of it is predictable, constant, repetitious. There must have been the cheesy music in the stadium between innings, the clapping, the cheers, the whole delicate and fine scale of bat-on-ball and ball-on-leather, but I can’t remember it. I remember what came before.
On the Value of Hearing No, Kindly (Bluestem Magazine Blog)
Like many of the stories about my writing life, this one begins in a classroom at Lycoming College, in a fiction class with my mentor, G. W. Hawkes.
Nothing Happens at Coors Field (The Classical)
For so many players, not just those who will more quietly hang up their cleats in November but everyone involved, the unspectacular contest we witnessed was one more game, one more game in one more August. It didn’t really matter that I’d been back to school/work for two weeks by then—there were the little leaguers who were still reveling in those nine innings of summer. The feeling spread.
Second Rodeo (The Classical Magazine, Issue 4)
It's hard to watch, knowing all this, knowing that even in non-contact events like breakaway roping or barrel racing, the young men and women in rodeo--and it is a sport for the young, for people who can be untroubled by all the trouble they choose--are a mistake or a horse or cow's fickle behavior from a broken bone, from paralysis. But with all things come risk, and the human beings involved know this, and part of the devil's pact of loving sport--any kind of sport--is knowing that those of us there are complicit to some degree. The factors and actors, the acts themselves, the violence above and beyond the violence we pay to see--we do not want that, but we are not separate from it.
Why I Write (Stymie Magazine)
This is why I write. This is why I keep taking to the air.
Nowhere Near Alabama, But Home's Still Sweet: The Fine Art of the Walk-Up Track (Recess Magazine)
The announcer in the otherwise-empty pressbox forgets to turn off the microphone between announcing batters, so the speakers crackle with empty air.Sometimes the computer he’s using to play a song or two between innings and the walk-up music makes that Windows default noise. The digital piDONK pings across the backstop speakers as the players’ walk-up music, too, is mixed in almost accidentally, cutting in and out. Still, the walk-up music is here, and I’m pleased. Walk-up music has become one of my favorite parts of live baseball, particularly at these lower levels of play.
In the Land of the Sand Gnats (The Classical)
The closest I have ever been to Brandon Nimmo has been a series of excellent articles by Casper Star-Tribune sports reporter Clint Robus. Were Wyoming anything but what it is, the one hundred eighty miles between Casper and Cheyenne would likely make Nimmo a citizen of some other state. It would certainly classify him a perfect stranger to me, which, of course, he is. But after spending some years in a state that covers almost a hundred thousand square miles but houses fewer than six hundred thousand people, one starts to think of connections differently. And so when I was in Savannah—it was not purely a scouting trip; I was also attending a conference for English educators—for the Sand Gnats’ Opening Day, there was no question that I would be there. I was supporting a neighbor, albeit a distant one.
Driving To Utopia, Arizona (The Classical)
Eventually, this road also leads to a visitation of four stadiums spread in a rough crescent around the greater Phoenix area. Its two arms nearly touch as the wide ribbon between Peoria and Goodyear stretches east and nearly kisses itself in Scottsdale, a mere six miles between Talking Stick and Scottsdale Stadium. The circumference is certainly no five hundred miles, but this Cactus League island’s sheltered, idyllic heart is a sort of utopia: a week of pure summer in fickle, tempestuous March, and home to a kind of baseball that exists nowhere else. Still, it is a dangerous place to enter.
This piece also appeared in the inaugural issue of The Classical magazine. Subscribe for monthly installments of sports awesomeness. Non-Apple users check here.
The Last Book I Loved: The History of the Peloponnesian War (The Rumpus)
This is not an easy book to love. As an object, it is one of those books all of an age: squat, with yellowing, pulpy pages, the kind whose corners you can’t turn down because the paper creases so hard that it might as well be perforated. Dog-ear it in the opposite direction and the corner comes off entirely. The print is small and dense; and it is a 2,400 year old account of a war that gets no press. It’s not sexy like the Fall of Troy, not Homerically epic. The gods don’t factor in. The content is almost as hard to love as the way I remember myself when the book first came to me.