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RIP Roger Angell

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Inky_Wretch, May 20, 2022.

  1. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Angell took the art of baseball writing to its highest levels.
    Brilliant, thoughtful insights. You would soak it all up for hours at a time.
  2. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    His interview with Horace Stoneham, just before he had to sell the Giants, is superb reading.
    HanSenSE likes this.
  3. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Some good links in this tribute.

    Nobody Did It Better Than Roger Angell

    Also, this ...

    “What I do know is that this belonging and caring is what our games are all about; this is what we come for. It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look—I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring—caring deeply and passionately, really caring—which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how fail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naïveté—the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazard flight of a distant ball—seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”

    maumann likes this.
  4. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    What always struck me about Angell is how late he started.

    Angell was 41 when he went on his first baseball assignment for The New Yorker. From there, he became one of the greatest baseball writers who will ever exist.
  5. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    One of the moment-moments I'll always remember about this joint is from September 28, 2008 when @Bubbler did that thing that Angell wrote above ...

    You magnificant bastard! I'm glad you got to enjoy it in person!

    Very nearly. And I died a thousand deaths of the other kind too. The Brewers were so fucking frustrating to watch through seven innings, with the most amazing payoff imaginable. A microcosm of the season.

    I have to say, next to seeing the Brewers win the pennant in person in '82 when I was 11, and the Packers' Super Bowl win in '96, Braun's home run was the next greatest personal sports moment of my life.

    But perhaps, it was the sweetest and most cathartic moment than either of the others, considering I've been waiting 26 years and have been put through hell both in the long view (the frustration of near misses in the 80s, followed by the misery of the 90s and early part of the 2000s) and the short-term (an epic gag going from 5 1/2 games up in the Wild Card on Sept. 1 to 2 1/2 back last Sunday) to live that moment as a fan.

    Know this, I was wound up beyond belief flipping between Cubs-Brewers and Marlins-Mets in my living room. I threw my Brewers cap down in disgust when the Brewers gave up an unearned run in the first and then sat there revving in the red while the Brewers flailed away at the plate against a cavalcade of Cubs bullpen schleps. One hit through six innings? Are you freaking serious?

    What a roller-coaster ride. Marlins take the lead ... some relief. Carlos Beltran hits a game-tying home run ... back to Teutonic levels of angst. The Brewers load the bases in the seventh with one out, manage to tie the game only because Craig Counsell is the only Brewer who can draw a walk, but get nothing else. FUCK!

    My wife walked in at that point. And I said with all of the seriousness of a heart attack, "This is so stressful. This is so FUCKING stressful."

    Before the bottom of the Brewers 8th, I flipped over to TBS just in time to watch Wes Helms jack the go-ahead home run. Wes Fucking Helms! He did more for the Brewers in one swing as a Marlin than he ever did in three years as a Brewer. I didn't even see Uggla's home run, because I flipped back to my game.

    My tension was enough to give off heat haze, so my family left me well enough alone. My kids took a bath and my wife was talking to her mom on the phone when the eighth inning started. After Mike Cameron singled, Ray Durham nearly hit a home run that fell about two feet short of the wall. I yelled at the top of my lungs, leapt out of my seat, but once again ... denied.

    Braun was up next. Fortuitously, I had turned the DVR on at the beginning of the inning hoping something might happen.

    First pitch ... you knew it was gone off the crack of the bat.

    As much of a dope as I am on this site, I'm generally a pretty measured person, a trait honed by years of having to be stoic and objective in press boxes and press rows. But for one of the few times in my adult life, I completely lost it.

    When the WGN shot made it clear Braun's bomb was gone, I out of my chair at Usain Bolt-like speed and was already on a dead sprint to do an unhinged lap around my house before the ball landed.

    I damn near broke my ankle on a rocking chair, careened into a dog food dispenser in my kitchen, scared the ever-living shit out of my wife in the back of the house on the phone -- her mom wondered why "the kids" were screaming, passed the bathroom where my kids were bathing, laughing their asses off and imitating the banshee screams of their crazy dad, before I sat back down in my chair.

    I'm not going to lie ... the euphoria I had was what I would imagine a tantric orgasm (dry, emphasize, DRY orgasm) would be like. I don't know if it was the release of tension from the rest of the game, or the season, or what, but I definitely checked out into some sort of otherworldly haze for at least a minute or two.

    When the Brewers won, I let out a few more yells and some Tiger Woods-like fist pumps gone horribly wrong, but I knew it wasn't truly over. Back to the Marlins-Mets.

    Shit. Two men on, Carlos Delgado up, two out. Arthur Rhodes comes in for the Marlins. ARTHUR RHODES, WHAT THE FUCK, FLORIDA? Delgado gives me a scare, but he goes warning track.

    My kids were getting entertained like never before watching me act like a fool and they asked what I would do if the Marlins won. I told them at the very least I would do another lap around the house, but would definitely continue it outside, in my backyard or down the block if the spirit moved me. My wife, also entertained by my spectacle, just told me not to get arrested.

    One out. Single. Shit this won't be easy. Two outs! So close. Ryan Church coming up.

    When he hit the ball, the first words out of my mouth were, "NOOOO! HOLY SHIT! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?" Church hit it well, but not well enough. Another warning track shot that fell into Cameron Maybin's glove. Game over. Sweet release.

    Another mad dash, but not as unhinged as the Braun one. As I yelled, "It's finally over!" I grabbed and kissed both of my kids, and they chased me as I did a sort of arms-stretched out soccer goal celebration on my glide to the backyard. They couldn't keep up with me as I took a Bob Beamon-like leap off my deck (nearly breaking my ankle again) on my way to a few celebratory laps around the backyard that probably scared the hell out of the neighbors.

    I couldn't stop laughing. It was pure joy. It was 26 years of frustration down the drain.

    It was baseball. What a great day. (And Fernando Alonso won the F1 race, too!)

    Baseball Thread No. 19: The Robin Yount Postseason Tour
    maumann likes this.
  6. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    He won the Spink in 2014. He's better than that.
    MeanGreenATO likes this.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I had “Season Ticket” when I was a teen, which had, as I mostly remember, a chapter on Dan Quisenberry and his stuff on covering the‘86 playoffs and World Series, which he titled the chapter “Not so, Boston”, which he wrote down as the Red Sox were winning Game 6 against the Mets.
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Not afraid to take on an issue either. He did one story in the late 70s on the struggles of female reporters trying to gain access to the locker room, interviewing, among others, Melissa Ludtke Lincoln and Stephanie Salter. For comparison with how other leagues handle it, he went to Islanders-Rangers and a Knicks game on back-to-back days, interviewing, after the latter game, a young Phil Jackson.
  9. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    And then he still had a 60-year career doing it!

    That's two full writing careers for a lot of people who start out younger.
    MeanGreenATO likes this.
  10. Mngwa

    Mngwa Well-Known Member

    Given the state of sports journalism today, and the diminishing literacy of Americans, I think it's safe to say that Roger Angell is the best baseball writer who will ever live.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    We all said the same about Spink and Lardner and Granny Rice and Runyon and Red Smith and Jim Murray, et al.

    Roger Angell was one of the baseball greats, for sure.

    But baseball makes great writers as much as great writers make baseball. As Angell tells it, he took his tone and approach entirely from Updike.

    And Mr. Angell's contributions to American fiction in the second half of the 20th century likely outweigh his baseball writing.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    One thing that made Angell a great reporter as well as writer was his ability to be comfortable in any social environment. I mean, it's harder to think of two more different worlds than baseball and what surrounds the fiction editor of the New Yorker, yet he was completely at ease in both.
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