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Thursday
Jul052012

The Most Beautiful Thing In Sports

One of the images I have before me now is that of Tom Seaver pitching; the motionless assessing pause on the hill while the sign is delivered, the easy, rocking shift of weight onto the back leg, the upraised arms, and then the left shoulder coming forward as the whole body drives forward and drops suddenly downward—down so low that the right knee scrapes the sloping dirt of the mount—in an immense thrusting stride, and the right arm coming over blurrily and still flailing, even as the ball, the famous fastball, flashes across the plate, chest-high on the batter and already past his low, late swing.

—Roger Angell, "Goodbye, Tom" 1977

Ladies and gentlemen, it ain't a novel, but Late Innings sure is exactly what I was looking for.

Also, from Seaver himself, as quoted by Angell in "The Long Green" from the same book: "Pitching is a beautiful thing. It's an art—it's a work of art when it's done right. It's like a ballet or the theatre. And, like any work of art, you have to have it in your head first—the idea of it, a vision of what it should be. And then you have to perform. You try to make your hand and body come up to that vision. When you do it, when you can sense sometimes that it's been done right, it's an extraordinary feeling. It's the most beautiful thing in sports."

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