Used to be that no baseball season felt complete until Roger Angell’s piece appeared in the New Yorker. Mr. Angell just turned 90 but he’s still writing. However, I don’t know if we’ll get the usual piece, as Angell was blogging for the New Yorker during the post-season. My favorite bit came his final post–because he dug up a quote from one of his old pieces that I’ve been looking for, unsuccessfully, for years now:
Players have little awareness of fan angst, but I’ve not forgotten an amazing late-summer conversation I had with the iconic, forty-year-old Willie McCovey at Candlestick Park, in 1978, at a time when his contending Giants had just dropped five out of six games and were beginning a customary September slide toward oblivion.
“The fans sitting up there are helpless,” he said. “They can’t pick up a bat and come down and do something. Their only involvement is in how well you do. If you strike out or mess up out there, they feel they’ve done something wrong. You’re all they’ve got. The professional athlete knows there’s always another game or another year coming up. If he loses he swallows that bitter pill and comes back. It’s much harder for the fans.”