Baseball as metaphor for . . . something

A very long piece in Vanity Fair in which a writer, who comes right out and admits that he doesn’t care a lick for baseball, spends time in spring training trying to figure out if baseball will save America’s psyches from the economic doldrums or something. I found it frustrating for a hundred reasons, yet still somehow hard to tear away from for most of the piece, and then he winds up with this:

Some in the crowd run for shelter, but most don’t. There’s a guy standing next to me, dressed from head to toe in Yankees apparel, and although he’s getting soaked—he looks like a wet superhero—he doesn’t move. “What a fucking lousy day for a ballgame,” he says with a snarl, and then he takes a long swig from his beer. He stares out at the field, his eyes unblinking and an expression of fierce determination on his face.

Forget the underdog stories. This is baseball’s true recession metaphor, and it has nothing to do with the players. This guy standing in the rain—refusing to leave because he paid for a game and, goddammit, he’s gonna get his game—he represents the true American spirit.

I just can’t decide if it’s a good thing.

And then it dawned on me: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes “Rosebud” is just a sled, and sometimes a ballgame is just a ballgame. Go looking to find greater meaning and most of the time you won’t.

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  1. Levi Stahl said...

    I find Charlie Brown’s refusal to acknowledge that a downpour was going to prevent him from playing the game to be a wee bit more inspiring.

    But oh, it was good to see the game back last night, even as it was blizzardy outside.

  2. Kelly said...

    I think it’s a misplaced metaphor as well.  The number of people I know who would sit out in the rain and be determined is around 3.  Just as the number of people who are not screaming about the sky falling and the whole world “sucking” is also about 3.  Let’s not go overboard.

    Rosebud is just a sled.

  3. Grant said...

    “As far as I’m concerned, baseball is just something men turn to when they’re afraid of having actual conversations or being called homosexuals.”

    Really? He went there? This guy is coming across as, well, kind of a jerk. This is perhaps not terribly unusual for a writer for Vanity Fair, but still. I guess I’ll go finish this article, but I don’t really want to. Beats working, at least.

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