America’s Game: 30 Quotes from Authors on Baseball

 

After a wild game 7, the baseball season is over and the Chicago Cubs have finally broken their 108 year championship drought. Baseball has always been used as a metephor for love, life, religion, and sex, and last night’s game – with its incredible saves, extra inning, rain delay, and homers – will provide fodder for another century to come. Here are 30 quotes from authors on baseball. Compiled by Colleen White

 

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“(Baseball) is a game with a lot of waiting in it; it is a game with increasingly heightened anticipation of increasingly limited action”

― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

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“When I was a kid… I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls, but I couldn’t play ball. I couldn’t dance. Luckily, the girls didn’t want me. Not much I could do about that. So I started to draw and to write”

– Shel Silverstein

 

 

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“Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It’s gossip”

― Erma Bombeck

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“God what an outfield,’ he says. ‘What a left field.’ He looks up at me, and I look down at him. ‘This must be heaven,’ he says.

No. It’s Iowa,’ I reply automatically.”

— W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

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“They say some of my stars drink whiskey. But I have found that the ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.”

― Fred McMane

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“The truth of some promises is not as important as whether or not you can believe in them, with all your heart. A game of baseball can’t really make a summer day last forever. A home run can’t really heal all the broken places in our world, or in a single human heart. And there was no way that Mr. Feld could keep his promise never to leave Ethan again. All parents leave their children one day.”

― Michael Chabon, Summerland

 

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“I do what I’ve trained my whole life to do. I watch the ball. I keep my eye on the ball. I never stop watching. 

I watch it as it sails past me and lands in the catcher’s mitt, a perfect and glorious strike three.”

― Barry Lyga, Boy Toy

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“I see great things in baseball.”

― Walt Whitman

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“How can I play baseball when I’m worried about foreign policy?”

― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts

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“Oh, to be a center fielder, a center fielder- and nothing more”

― Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint

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“The sheer quantity of brain power that hurled itself voluntarily and quixotically into the search for new baseball knowledge was either exhilarating or depressing, depending on how you felt about baseball. The same intellectual resources might have cured the common cold, or put a man on Pluto.”

― Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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“The game [baseball] was a custom of his clan, and it gave outlet for the homicidal and sides-taking instincts which Babbitt called “patriotism” and “love of sport.”

― Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt

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“I have explained many times that I am, by Profession, a Gambler — not some jock-sniffing nerd or a hired human squawk-box with the brain of a one-cell animal. No. That would be your average career sportswriter — and, more specifically, a full-time Baseball writer.”

― Hunter S. Thompson

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“I don’t have to tell you that the one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has been erased like a blackboard, only to be rebuilt and then erased again. But baseball has marked time while America has rolled by like a procession of steamrollers.”

― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

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“One thing led to another. That was the only way to explain how Arnold Brinkman, who considered both professional sports and young children unjustifiable, had ended up at Yankee Stadium with a nine-year-old boy.”

― Jacob M. Appel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up

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“My favorite urban flower, the baseball box score.”

― Roger Angell, The Summer Game

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“In the sixties, dear Bill, we did not say ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ – we said ‘pitcher’ and ‘catcher’…”

― John Irving, In One Person

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“For your penance, say two Hail Marys, three our Fathers, and,” he added, with a chuckle, “say a special prayer for the Dodgers.”

― Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wait Till Next Year

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“’This is the second day now that I do not know the result of the juegos,’ he thought. ‘But I must have confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel.’”

― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

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“I also knew that I was on my way to becoming the worst athlete in the history of American boyhood.”

― Frank Rich, Ghost Light

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“Even with the benefit of steroids most modern players still couldn’t hit as many home runs as Babe Ruth hit on hotdogs.”

― Bill Bryson, One Summer: America, 1927

 

 

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“Molly wondered if these boys really loved baseball, the sound and smell of it, the rhythm of it, the leather and wood, the grass and dirt, the story and surprise in a good game.”

― Mick Cochrane, The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

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“…No, he’s a gambler.” Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: “He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.”

“Fixed the World Series?” I repeated.

The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as something that merely happened, the end of an inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people–with the singlemindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.

“How did he happen to do that?” I asked after a minute.

“He just saw the opportunity.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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“Baseball is a good thing. Always was, always will be.”

― Stephen King, Blockade Billy

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“I can wear a baseball cap; I am entitled to wear a baseball cap. I am genetically pre-disposed to wear a baseball cap, whereas most English people look wrong in a baseball cap.”

— Bill Bryson

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“I shall be obliged if you will send Nora and the girls to church every Sunday for the next month to pray for the continued health and strength of the Messrs. Gilliam, Reese, Snider, Campanella, Robinson, Hodges, Furillo, Podres, Necombe and Labine, collectively known as the The Brooklyn Dodgers. If they lose this World Series I shall Do Myself In and then where will you be?”

― Helene Hanff, 84, Charing Cross Road

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“My instinct is a winning coach, and when it said ‘Batter up’ I didn’t argue that I wasn’t ready for the game. I gripped the bat in both hands, assumed the stance, and said a prayer to Mickey Mantle.”

― Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

 

 

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“The man on the rock had pitched five outs in the losing game, and had given up two runs on a single. But he’d inherited loaded bases. The story of his life. The story of all our lives.”

― David James Duncan, The Brothers K

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“Nobody deserves to go to the World Series more than the Chicago Cubs. But they can’t go because that would spoil their custom of never going. It is an irreconcilable paradox.”

― Bill Bryson, I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after Twenty Years Away

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“Sandor Boatly had never guessed that, properly played, baseball consisted of mathematics, geometry, art, philosophy, ballet, and carnival, all intertwined like the mystical ribbons of color in a rainbow.”

― W.P. Kinsella, Butterfly Winter

 

 

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