Try as he would he could only think of four bases and not a book. His head spun at her allusions. He found her lingo strange with all the college stuff and hoped she would stop it because he wanted to talk about baseball.

Bernard Malamud, The Natural.

My girlfriend recently surprised me with several great baseball-related Valentine’s Day and birthday gifts, the best of which is a copy of Malamud’s classic novel (which was later adapted into the film, starring Robert Redford). It’s been quite some time since I saw the movie, and so reading the book is almost as fresh an experience as could be.

While I’m only about 30 pages in, I can’t help but notice, or perhaps force, the connections between the struggle of Roy Hobbs and the current landscape of baseball fandom. I might be at the edge of the limb here, but Roy seems to me at first lost within the game - almost sure of his abilities, with his memories and three spectacular pitches that the game’s best hitter couldn’t touch - but nevertheless adrift.

Is there something to that? Is the game both more accessible today than it’s ever been, for fans, reporters, and bloggers alike, while also remaining intractable as to how we all understand it?

I’m way out in left field, but I’m really excited to read this book and give these thoughts free reign.

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