MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
OK. Let's put aside Republicans and Democrats and talk about some real division. Who are you cheering for - the Royals or the Orioles? The American League Championship Series begins tonight. Neither Kansas City nor Baltimore has made it to the World Series since the '80s. And baseball is the theme for this week's must read. Writer Kate Tuttle has this pitch.
KATE TUTTLE: I don't think it's a stretch to say a ballgame is always more fun with a friend - someone who really knows baseball. And I can't think of a better companion than Roger Angell. He's 94 now and he's been writing about the game for over half a century, ever since the New Yorker sent him to spring training in 1962. In his book "Season Ticket" about baseball in the '80s, Angell writes (reading) I have covered this beat in haphazard fashion, following my own inclinations and interests.
Angell brings us to 1985 when the Royals beat the Cards. I'm hoping for a rematch of that series this fall. He covered the era's stars - George Brett, Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens. But he paid special attention to the oddballs, like Dan Quisenberry, the Royals great submarine pitcher. Quisenberry's work on the mound, Angell wrote, was funny looking and profoundly undramatic. And he went about it like a man sweeping out a kitchen. Basketball may be quick and beautiful and football a show of force. But baseball is quiet, dreamy and, Angell points out, somehow sad. There is more losing than winning in our sport, he writes, as we fans grow older it's hard to ignore the way the long season traces an arc, like a lifetime condensed. Midsummer baseball feels as if it would last forever, Angell writes. Then late-season baseball becomes quicker and terser, as if sensing its coming end. But sometimes, he goes on, if we are lucky it explodes into thrilling terminal colors, leaving bright pictures in memory to carry us through the miserable months to come.
BLOCK: The book is "Season Ticket" by Roger Angell. It was recommended by Boston Globe book critic Kate Tuttle.
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