3 August 06
Life In Lower Divisions
We just went to see the River Cats rout the Memphis Redbirds 15-1. Doc Rock, up here for a brief visit, went to the game with us; we picked her up at the airport and went straight to the ballpark. She’s never been to a minor league game before, and had a good baseball experience tonight. Minor league games have an enchanting mixture of occasional high-caliber play and constant between-inning campiness. There is also the undercurrent of the stories of the careers of the players: who is bound for stardom in a year or two, and who is on their way down, or out.
It’s been almost four weeks now since the end of the World Cup and I am still keen on following soccer. I’ve read three books on the sport since then—National Pastime, a comparison of the business aspects of both baseball and soccer, Fever Pitch, the classic account of an obsessed Arsenal fan in London, which eventually turned into a movie about a Red Sox fan, and The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, about a team in a tiny village in the Abruzzo region that manages to get promoted to the second-tier league in Italy one year. We’re visiting Europe in several weeks and I might just take myself to a match to find out what the sport is really all about. Not the top-flight teams—it’s too hard and expensive to get tickets for those matches—but rather the middling teams. It will be very different from sport over here, but how?