Context – proof reading
I’ve been really itching to re-watch Moneyball as part of my 10-year plan to finally get into baseball. This has been an incremental journey, starting back in 2011 when Moneyball first came out. I love the line “how can you not get romantic about baseball?” that’s repeated throughout the movie, and the examples they give are compelling. That, and the bottom of the ninth is the best thing in all of sports–if only they didn’t have eight and a half boring innings to compete against. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy the early innings, but you have to really love the sport or your team, and I don’t have a sport or a team at the moment.
A few years later I was contemplating writing my first novel, and had the thought of writing about a character who becomes fake-interested in baseball in order to impress his new boss. Being a non-participant in most sports, I find myself lacking in small-talk and social currency from time to time, and figured I could go on the same journey as my planned protagonist. That did not work as intended, but my interest is slowly starting to grow at this point.
Somewhere around 2014 a friend of mine (the same friend I saw Moneyball with, actually) recommended Michael Chabon’s superb novel, Summerland, which is a wonderful blend of young-adult literature, baseball, and Norse mythology. Especially after reading American Gods for the first time, all of this sat well in the part of my belly that deals in first impressions and my general sense of taste. I still can’t sit through a whole game, but by this point I’ve hyper-romantic notions of the glory of the game, team spirit, and Americana.
In 2015 that same friend and I share a friendly rivalry as the Cubs and the Mets played for the National League Championship. I was convinced the Cubs were going to fulfill the prophecy of Back to the Future II, but she got her gloating privileges and I went back to not caring about baseball for a while.
Last year was a great year to have a passing interest in baseball as the Cubs finally got over the Curse of the Billy Goat and ended baseball’s longest-running championship drought after beating the Cleveland Indians in a tense and dramatic game 7 of the World Series. I watched most of the World Series, and even a handful of playoff games. I’d like to think my contribution is what put the Cubs over the edge in terms of momentum and support.
So now that I own a Cubs hat and have a passing knowledge of how the sport works, it’s almost time for me to become an official fan of baseball. It’s been six years of me pretending to be a fan and I love everything about the sport–I love how much of a coaches’ game it is, I love movies about the sport, I love books about the sport, I love the great nation which claims this sport as its pastime. But rather than watch a game (my cable is disconnected at the moment) I’m watching YouTube clips of Moneyball during my downtime at work.
I notice that a pivotal scene of the movie, where Chris Pratt (who knew he was in this?) secures the A’s 20-win streak with a home run, features some decidedly ambient post-rock. Which is a winded as fuck way of telling you how I learned that This Will Destroy You is a band that makes music.
My opinion of post-rock and ambient genres is mixed in an extreme way. Bands will either stand out and bring me to tears (Explosions in the Sky), or I immediately forget about you because I don’t care (I don’t have an example because as I just said, I’ve already forgotten about you). This Will Destroy You seems to be closer to the first camp than the second.
The song used in that scene, “The Mighty Rio Grande”, is a powerful swell of soundscape that will add gravitas and depth to any dramatic scene in any movie. It builds and pulsates upon itself in a really satisfying way. The rest of the album is also enjoyable, but due to the nature of post-rock it all kind of blends together as it gains momentum approaching “The Mighty Rio Grande”. I didn’t even notice the song had ended as the currant carried me from shore to shore without too much danger or adventure.
And maybe I’m being overly sentimental about this sport I love to pretend to hate but kind of love despite not really watching, but this song will continue to haunt me. If Moose Blood’s “Cherry” gutted the cavity where my heart used to be, “The Mighty Rio Grande” gently refills the space with a somber melancholy that does not completely nullify the void, but rather gives it a new sense of perspective and appreciation.
Which is a winded as fuck way to tell you that “The Mighty Rio Grande” gave me all the feels, man. Or maybe I just miss my friend (Vole: if you are reading this, Giraffe requests a rendezvous through the usual mediums. Three fingers to the nose will point to the mark). Either way, I think I’m going to buy Moneyball and keep being romantic about baseball.