To American Baseball Historians (first letter)

The bases are always loaded.

Why the translucent reddish-brown horn-rimmed glasses and elbow-patched tweed blazers? Why the intensity of your furrowed brows and quick moments of inarticulate withdrawal? This, I suppose, is the uniform of the philosopher-archivist, the neurotic academic, the maladjusted obsessive. You are scholars of a kind of theology. You are keepers of a faith.
I’m captivated by your passion, your seriousness and your projections of meaning, your specializations and interpretations that proliferate like card collections, your vulnerability in the face of all things real. Could you cope without the history of baseball? To go on — to keep it up — it all hinges on an unspoken denial of being embalmed in nostalgia.
I feel for you and your interiority, your re-ordering of the universe. Dearest American Baseball Historians, I love you.
I think I see what you desire — what you feel in your hearts. You are to me, in some ways, a lot like the players.
This world is but an imperfect, even messy afterthought in relation to the game. The game has made men noble and wise and powerful in honest and decent ways. The game is fair, and when it’s not everyone knows it and makes a stink. This is what the Republic could’ve been. An ugly farm boy, drunkard drifter, thrills New York City. An illiterate negro from the swamp dines with movie stars and Presidents.
You talk about what so-and-so said in 1908 as if you were channeling. Your hands wring the air.
Have you ever picked up a bat? I don’t think it matters. This is about a struggle with longing. Your mind is desperately trying to re-inscribe a cruel world while clouded by terror and remorse.
It’s no wonder we’re both so anxious as I watch you being interviewed.
jeremy