It’s coming on ten years since I blogged about discovering Stephen King’s love of baseball in a quietly celebrated supplement to the San Francisco Panorama (McSweeney’s Issue 33). While spring cleaning this morning, in preparation for vacating our North Jersey apartment in favor of The Shore, I came across the special section that King wrote titled “Stephen King on the Worlds Series 2009”.
Space precludes supplying you with the entire text, but in an excerpt King writes: “It isn’t that I love the Phils, a tough and hard-nosed team in the Yankee mold who happen to be the defending World Champs, it’s just that I have this … thing about the Yankees. All lifelong Red Sox fans do.”
And from the original section still in my possession (although who knows how much longer), King’s Postgame conclusion (November 5):
“I’m a lot less mad now than when I was when I started this story; I think just getting away from the intersection of Greed and Stupid has done a lot to restore my equanimity. Mostly, though, it’s been a matter of watching closely, really attending to the games, and seeing that the men on the field are playing the game in the old way, honoring the traditions and giving up their bodies … The team I was rooting for [the Phillies] lost, but they played hard, they respected the game, and it’s not their fault if the guys in the suits have slapped Major League Baseball on a lunchbox and sold it, sold it, sold it.
Would I change things if I could? Yeah … I know what you’re going to say: agents … the Players’ Union … natural evolution of the game … blah blah blah … stop sounding like a crotchety old man reaming for the good old days, Steve. You’re absolutely right … and you’re absolutely wrong.
Because I do long for the good old days, and I believe I am not entirely wrong to do so … But hey. Not all of my malaise this morning comes from the artificial hoopla that now surrounds the game; some of it’s just the melancholy of impending winter, when most sports take place indoors and all are played against a clock. Still, spring gaining always comes around. If I’m lucky, I’ll still be here to see it … more rookies and phenoms … another season … another World Series. Like the old outlaw in The Wild Bunch says, It ain’t like it used to be, but it’s still pretty good.”
For your viewing pleasure, here are the accompanying drawings from artist Eric March. My only regret? That McSweeney’s didn’t commission King and March to cover the 2008 World Series in which the Phils emerged as, in the immortal words of Chase Utley, World Effin Champions. But, in King’s words, the 2009 Series was still pretty good.