Method in the Madness

Here’s an attempt at articulating this project’s methodology – such as it is – and what I’ve learned along the way.

George Vecsey wrote in his wonderful book, Baseball – A History of America’s Favorite Game that the game “survives on its oral traditions. What else do you do at the ballpark but chatter for two or three or four hours?”

“In rural America, people sat on their front porches and whittled with their knives and talked to each other. In ballparks, fans and players and commentators still have time to play with words and ideas and memories.”

He’s right, of course. Even when I go to games by myself I usually end up chatting with people around me or – entertainingly – the ushers. An usher at Great American Ballpark once saw me keeping score and came over to tell me a story about Phil Rizzuto and broadcast partner Bill White.

“One time White looks over at Phil’s scorecard and notices there are two or three boxes where he’s written “WW”. “White has never seen that particular scoring abbreviation before and so asks “What happened there?” “Wasn’t watching,” says Rizzuto.