It’s the dog days of summer but it’s Spring Training all year round in San Diego as the Padres sort through their stock of minor leaguers to see who might still be around in a few years when they hope to be competitive. That means losing a lot. Watching a good amount of losing baseball requires a different lens and an appreciation for the small things inside and outside the game.
Recent efforts to increase the speed of the game are a reflection of the fear that America’s historic pastime is too slow for our constantly-plugged-in culture. We are always running, and it is not. Still, baseball is the perfect summer game because, at base, it’s timeless, lazy. There are lots of empty spaces, best felt at the lower tech, minor league parks, but still there everywhere else if you can tear your eyes away from the big screen.
Having some sense of the fact that watching baseball means occupying a seat in a larger tradition or history also helps—knowing what came before, the role the game has played in our culture. What has been lost and where the ghosts of baseball past still haunt us—the remains of old parks in Catalina, Hana, and other out of the way places where the big leaguers used to train or play. [Read more…]