Monday, July 14, 2008

Sideshow in the Stadium

Base-ball’s mid-season respite from match playing takes a turn toward the carnivalesque to-night, with the folly known as the Four-Ply-Drive Derby.

As an aficionado of the full-circuit clout, I confess mild interest in the festivities -- at least to a point. To follow the arc of a scalded pill from the crack of the ash up into the firmament and beyond the confines of the ball-yard is to witness a miracle of the physical sciences.

But removed from the other beauties of the game – twirling, glove-work and base-running – clouts become cause stripped of effect. To-night, there will be no “runs” put on the board, no “ties” broken with one mighty swing, no conclusive blasts in the final chapter to secure victory for our home-town boys.

Instead, the swat artists will stand in the batsman’s box and clobber slow hurl upon slow hurl, until they resemble less a ball-player than a Fiji mermaid or bearded lady wielding the lumber. I will gawk for a moment, but in time, my thoughts will drift toward a half-season of meaningful clouts yet to come.

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