Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ideal

As the baseball playoffs approach, the Design Observer reminds us of a slide show of photos by Don Hamerman, a Connecticut photographer, who, "For the past few years, as he's walked his dog at a local park, [has] picked up lost and forgotten baseballs." The post is also accompanied by a 1976 excerpt by Roger Angell, who waxes eloquent and sentimental the way that baseball fans do:
No other small package comes as close to the ideal in design and utility. It is a perfect object for a man's hand. Pick it up and it instantly suggests its purpose; it is meant to be thrown a considerable distance — thrown hard and with precision. Its feel and heft are the beginning of the sport's critical dimension; if it were a fraction of an inch larger or smaller, a few centigrams heavier or lighter, the game of baseball would be utterly different. Hold a baseball in your hand. As it happens, this one is not brand-new. Here, just to one side of the curved surgical welt of stitches, there is a pale-green grass smudge, darkening on one edge almost to black — the mark of an old infield play, a tough grounder now lost in memory. Feel the ball, turn it over in your hand; hold it across the seam or the other way, with the seam just to the side of your middle finger. Speculation stirs. You want to get outdoors and throw this spare and sensual object to somebody or, at the very least, watch somebody else throw it. The game has begun.


Blogger Miles Doyle said...


11:44 AM  
Blogger Mike Lindgren said...

That Angell essay -- "On the Ball" -- has always been one of my favorites.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara Carlson said...

I just spent a week with my 91-year-old father who has loved baseball all his life, even when his team (the L.A. Angels) "stinks".

I would never ask him why watch then, as my sister did. He had no answer.

I still love listening to baseball announcers' patter...a swing and a miss...I become 6 years old again, at my father's knee, the radio giving us a play by play.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Barbara Carlson said...

I guess my comment (~2 days ago) got swallowed by cyberspace gremlins....?

4:28 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Sorry, Barbara, your comments were not swallowed. I just hadn't approved them -- a process I'm obviously not used to, especially as the blog stagnates. Thanks for the comments. I love baseball patter, too -- have been listening to some of the playoff games on the radio. Brings me back as well.

2:47 AM  

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