In my mourning of the Red Sox loss, I decided to read the two greatest pieces ever written about them (apologies to Bill Simmons) to cheer myself up.
First, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” by John Updike, which is written nearly perfectly, including this classic description of Williams after he hits his last career home run:
Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out home runs—hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn’t tip his cap. Though we thumped, wept, and chanted “We want Ted” for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he never had and did not now. Gods do not answer letters.
Then there’s Peter Gammons’ gamer from Game 6 of the 1975 World Series a.k.a. the Carlton Fisk “Stay Fair” game. It’s the A Tale of Two Cities of sports writing, containing one of the most brilliant opening lines of a story and one of the most brilliant closing lines of a story.
And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of the morning.
And the closer:
Summertime has been called back for just one more day — for the seventh game of the World Series.
And how I wish summer was still going on.