Rooting for the Cubs in the Anthropocene

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of…

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The Orwellian Anti-Pageantry of a Game without Fans

Yesterday was an historic day for baseball, as a major league game was closed to the public for the first time ever, when the Baltimore Orioles hosted the White Sox to an eerily empty stadium. Watching the game that afternoon, the temptation to make this a metaphor for race relations in America was inescapable. It’s a commonplace to point out that America mythologizes itself through its national pastime, endlessly churning out pastoral fantasies of simpler and more innocent times through various baseball novels, songs, and films. But, as the radical novelist John Dos Passos wrote in 1936,…

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