I don’t know baseball or chess very well, but they’re fascinating. I don’t care enough about baseball to follow it through a season, but it’s growing on me, and I dig the post season tension. And I love good baseball writing for some reason. Baseball fiction, too. Ever read The Natural by Malamud? Summerland by Chabon? It’s a rich theme, and that richness permeates the current pennant races, which are starting to get to me. A Cubs-Red Sox underdog series would be just beautiful. I got World Series fever! This will end if neither the Cubs nor the Sox make it. Marlins? Eh. Young team, no folklore in them. Yankees? Seen it.
Chess writing is not exciting. Of course I don’t have a favorite chess player. I never really played it until about two years ago, when suddenly something clicked in my understanding of the game and I beat a friend in a tense match on Thanksgiving. Knew exactly what I was doing. Trembling by the end. Couldn’t sleep that night. It was nuts. I got a nice chess set, and a nice travel chess set, and a crappy travel chess set, and a few books. There was no one to play with, though. It died down, but I’m still pretty interested.
Monday I was listening to game four of the ALCS, which the Red Sox won. (Let’s not talk about game five). I was listening on the radio to capture some of the golden-age-of-baseball feel, and because my TV is busted. At the same time I was following the match in the Post’s chess column, playing along on my board. Yankees and Red Sox fighting an ancient feud in Boston, live; Kavalek and Formanek duking it out in Boston, 1970. Kavalek won, sacrificing pawn, knight, rook, and queen along the way. Red Sox won with a wiggly knuckleball. The pressrooms are calling this pitch the no-spin zone. I love that.
Go Sox! Um, go Kavalek.