History of the Game Series: A Response to Royalty
“...they divert themselves at base-ball, a play all who are, or have been, schoolboys, are well acquainted with. The ladies, as well as gentlemen, join in this amusement." -Mary Lepel
In 1748, Mary Lepel composes this in a letter describing the activities of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his family.
Sports in general have been accused of being simple diversions for the dreariness of existence. This assumption envisions a poor slub miserable in a 9 to 5, who escapes the monotony of bosses and bad coffee with the physical grace of a double play executed across the country and broadcast before his delighted eyes on an old TV. Due to baseball’s prestigious history, this die-hard fan looking to forget is hollering in his living room to the boys of summer.
However, this escapist narrative for sports and the brickdust angels who square up round balls with round bats, is a weak caricature of baseball lovers. The game may be “amusement,” but it is also a drama shifting momentum; a dance of chance (a bad hop, a bunt that hugs the fair line); a song of anticipation and failure and triumph and more failure. It is both a metaphor for life and life enacted in all its sunlit or spotlighted glory.