The baseball iteration that is rich in characters has been gauzed over with discussions of chemical abuses and home runs and stats. The characters remain, though, and continue to wield a mesmerizing unbelieving, the eternal mythmaking process, that such specialists can sustain the common trappings of a quirky personality. We expect, after all, a bomb defuser or a hostage negotiator to be more than a man or a woman, but an amalgam of traits suited perfectly for the job. Spies don’t joke around much and neither should closers, but they both do (I’m guessing, I’ve never met a spy–that I know of).
But there are characters, they are real humans there, though they may be wrapped in the cloth of mythology. Characters perhaps might be the wrong word. Ballplayers are already characters. Humans is the right word.
Blogs and blogs post and repost the repast of the day’s daily journalism, because we are enamored not only by the players, but by the scruffy ruffians who get to be near the players, and to–gasp of all gasps–talk to them. We talk a lot about the death of the newspaper, but then we post and repost everything that any journalist even whispers on his own blog, in italics not meant to be taken for the gospel that they are taken as.
There is an elemental distance between us and what we admire. The money, as exaggerated and impossible as it seems, is only an extension of that distance. We’ll never see that much money in our lives, and we’ll never be able to drive an inside fastball over the left or right field wall. Money is the least abstract manner by which we determine ourselves inferior from the glads. You’ve got a buck in your pocket, and so do I. Put it in a Calvin&Hobbesian transmogrifier and multiply times 150 million, wallpaper your house with it, paper mache it into a fort, no matter what you do it won’t make sense. The game is the money, the money is the game.
Baseball is a medium, as opined by Marshall McLuhan. MM, on what a medium is: “All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms.” There are all kinds of ins and outs, only a few of which I understand and which I hope to explore further. But the most important fact to come out of that quotation is that baseball is a medium. The form of the game, the boundaries, the rules, they all transmit information about us humans in a new way, all the while passing through the other media, the media everywhere, the everywhere media.
An electrical charge vibrates in that space between the baseball game and the fan, between the player and the game, between the player and the fan. All of it hums, as all media hums with the constant work of translation, reconfiguration, recalibration, and self-realization.
I would like this to be a project that explores that distance, and attempts to translate and to place myself–myself representing I think the Common Fan–in the endless spectral rainbow of media and baseball and life and computers, &tc.