Bartlett Giamatti will be the man who guides the great American pastime into the 's. He was tough, but left open a door for mercy for Rose, providing that Rose would in some way have to ''reconfigure'' his life. The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the doctrines of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide.
And then. He knew what Rose meant to the game, and liked Rose personally, but he had to be fair, to himself, to Rose and to baseball.
You don't love baseball in the abstract before you love it in its particularities. After his beloved Red Sox failed to win yet another championship, he wrote, ''Mutability had turned the seasons and translated hope to memory once again.You have been entrusted with the serious work of play, and your season of responsibility has come. So I wrote a second letter in which I objected to his line that anybody can resolve a dispute, that strikes are foolish, that it's simple to sit down and work things out. They delight and entertain. Please note that I endeavored to transcribe his words faithfully and accurately. These young umpires today got hair triggers. All through spring training everyone was running around asking about the strike zone. It is about restoration of the right relations among things. With Giamatti, there's a lot to be learned and a lot to be enjoyed, especially if you savor each essay one at a time. The count runs two and two, Briles is cagey, nothing too good, and Cox swings, the ball beginning toward the mound and then, in a jaunty, wayward dance, skipping past Briles, feinting to the right, skimming the last of the grass, finding the dirt, moving now like some small, purposeful marine creature negotiating the green deep, easily avoiding the jagged rock of second base, traveling steady and straight now out into the dark, silent recesses of center field. He's introduced the idea of advancing menacingly. It's such an English professor's ruling.
The people of America care about baseball, not about your squalid little squabbles. That is why it breaks my heart, that game--not because in New York they could win because Boston lost; in that, there is a rough justice, and a reminder to the Yankees of how slight and fragile are the circumstances that exalt one group of human beings over another.
Fly lost in sunset. It isone out, and school will never start, rain will never come, sun will warm the back of your neck forever. Law and Order.