Baseball and Writing

It dawned on me yesterday, as I reflected on the Cardinals being tied 1-1 with the Dodgers in the NLDS that, while I loved writing beforehand, when I read the daily column of the sports columnist Bernie Mikalsz in high school, I first had the desire to become a sports journalist. The practicability of doing this was definitely an issue for me since I knew it would involve mush travel and I was hoping then to have a family. Further, I was not really interested in writing about sports beyond baseball.

That dream was not meant to be, but it does not take away from the effect that Mikalsz’s writing has had on me. It is articles like the one he wrote in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning that increase my love of baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals:

“This is what the Cardinals take pride in. No matter how many times the power goes out, and this erratic offense crashes, the relentlessly upbeat manager and his bullheaded players still maintain hope. They keep yapping about stringing together quality at-bats and sticking with the process until success eventually clicks in. Game 1 was only the latest example.
“The guys stuck with it,” manager Mike Matheny said. “They believed in themselves, and each other. And even up until that seventh inning, you could still feel that guys were fighting.”
And on Friday night, the result was a berserk uprising that no one outside of the St. Louis dugout saw coming.
By the seventh inning the sun was fading, and the sky turned into an orange-pink canopy. With darkness on the edge of town, the Cardinals began lining base hits all over the yard, putting divots in the immaculate grass at Dodger Stadium, and trying to put a few more dents in Kershaw’s postseason rep. This was almost surreal.”

I mean, how could you not love the Cardinals or baseball when you read writing like that? Well, I suppose it is not the same for everyone. Mikalsz is clearly writing from his love of the team and sport, and has been doing so for years. He also freely criticizes the team and the managerial decisions when needed, which seems to be a couple of times a week.

I think a lot of my style comes from his style, but maybe that is just my imagining?

And if you have made it this far in my little Ode to Mikalsz, I definitely credit him as part of my inspiration in my latest reprint on Church POP, The Beautiful Liturgy of Baseball.

As for this week, I am going to listen on edge to the next two games of the NLDS. My traditionalism also permeates my baseball fandom. I much prefer the radio play by play to the televised game. I think it is a more beautiful art form to describe every detail of the game to the waiting imaginations than to comment on the outfit of whatever fan the camera man has picked out. Seriously, what a difference.  One thing that helps me stand true to these values is the lack of television in my house.

Anyway that is enough about baseball.

Here is a photo I once took of the Old Busch Stadium from the top of the Arch.