Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Joseph O'Neill | Netherland | 2008

Dear Chuck,

I'm a baseball guy, myself. I've dived to snag a ground ball on an all-dirt infield, and I've walked the concourse of the world's most charming ballparks, creeping through corridors and watching the panoramas reveal themselves with every step. I've felt the coarse texture of outfield grass and sniffed the familiar smell of a well-worn leather glove and flocked to the rat-a-tat of a good pepper game. To me, there's beauty in the tailor-made 6-4-3 double play, delight in the bunted ball that hugs the third-base line. It's comforting.

So I can understand obsession, especially when it's related to sport. Your fascination is with cricket, which, I think, makes me inclined to be skeptical and cynical and everything else a baseball purist should be when someone proposes that cricket, one day, will supplant baseball as the cherished sport of the summer, or at least supplement it in the dog days. I don't understand cricket. To be fair, I've made no effort to distinguish between wickets and creases and stumps, and I've never figured out why cricket games -- matches, I suppose? -- last so long, and it baffles me that fans not only tolerate the marathon, but revel in it. I like my pitches belt-high, not bounced, and my batsmen by their lonesome, not in pairs, and my bowlers in lanes, with heaps of greasy fries just a dollar or two away. You get it, then. Cricket isn't for me, at least not yet.

Perhaps it's this uncertainty that makes me so intrigued by your sweeping vision, foolish as it may be. It's inspiring, in a way. A magnificent cricket arena in Brooklyn? You must know, somewhere underneath your Yankees cap, that it won't happen, not ever. But I can't help but wonder, caught up in your spirited ambition that seems as American as, um -- well, you like apple pie, right? I'll buy you a slab, some day, if your stadium ever does open. Maybe it won't be as expensive as it is in the Bronx on October evenings. I can only hope.

Thinking fantastic,
Ben Cohen