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Appreciating Baseball


Baseball at Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima, Japan

I just finished the book The Wind Up-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. It was the only book in English I could find in the Slagtehal 3 Cinema in Arhus,  Denmark, while my film program was showing.  I enjoyed it.  I particularly liked a couple of the paragraphs that were about baseball.  The protagonist was at the bottom of a dry well.  He was trying  to figure things out.  He then was trapped there (read the book if you need more information that that) and time went even more slowly.  Here is the passage:

“Now it was 7:28 at night, that much was certain; at a baseball game, it would be the bottom of the third inning or the top of the fourth.  When I was a kid, I used to like to sit up high in the outfield stands and watch the summer day trying not to end.  The sun had sunk below the western horizon, but the afterglow was still brilliant and beautiful.  The stadium lights stretched their long shadows across the field as if to hint at something.  First one and then another light would be turned on with the utmost caution shortly after the game got going. Still there was enough light in the sky to read a newspaper by.  The memory of the long day’s glow remained at the door to keep the summer night from entering.

With patience and persistence, though, the artificial illumination was winning its quiet victory over the light of the sun, bringing forth a flood of festive colours.  The brilliant green of the playing field, the handsome black earth, the straight white lines new drawn up it, the glinting varnish on the bats of players waiting for their turn at the plate, cigarette smoke floating in the beams of light (looking, on windless days, like souls wandering in search of someone to take them in) – all these would begin to show up with tremendous clarity.  The young beer sellers would hold their hands up in the light, flashing bills tucked between their fingers.  The crowd would rise from their seats to follow the path of a high-fly ball, their voices rising with its arc or dissolving into a sigh.  Small flocks of birds returning to their roosts would fly past towards the sea.  This was the stadium at 7:30 in the evening. “

So, who says nothing happens in a  baseball game?


Tokyo Dome.   Tokyo Giants vs. the Chunichi Dragons

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