Introducing: Raymond Weschler

Since a recent visit to San Francisco catching up with a cousin of mine I’d last met forty years ago, I’ve been receiving an email once a week.  It is written by Raymond (using a French pronunciation of the word long before Stephen Colbert took to this trick). It is sent to anyone who subscribes. And it organises and, more importantly anatomises a local weekly game of softball in the San Francisco area, though it is read, nay studied, for the perspicacity of its speculations on matters which go beyond softball. Australians haven’t seen this kind of insight since the days of Dave Sorenson.

I’ve gradually grown dependent on this weekly missive. If you want to read a few you can read over ten years worth of these productions here.  In any event, a recent one is below. I’ve been into what is indecorously called the ‘back end’ of Troppo and given Raymond an ID and invited him to post.  He doesn’t want to post weekly but will post when he feels sufficiently inspired. In fact I’ll be in San Francisco next weekend, but I’m kicking myself that I’ll be arriving just after the game finishes.  Next time I’ll make sure I make it in time for the action.

Softball: Couch Potato (A Somewhat Convoluted Foray into the Intangibles)

Dear People,

Alan Brill’s team stunned my own in a spine-tingling athletic paragon of ontological ethics, 15-13. I refer you to the top of the 6th, when Frank’s blistering groundball up the middle was quickly turned into a dazzling force-out at 3rd. It was then and there that my textbook-like defense had every right to pause and savor, but instead, the Frankensteiner apparently fell into an untimely state of groggy pensivitude, and with Stephan’s searing throw to 1st, Frank suddenly found himself as the new and towering poster-child for gratuitous double plays. In all candor, it was the most pathetic post-bat sleepwalking in the history of this league, and yet there he was at game’s end, beaming with pride as part of the Brillopad’s victorious contingent. Really—how in God’s name does this happen?

Of course, the irony grows and the questions only multiply. Just three innings later with bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, Mary approached the plate with two out and our side down by five, yet also with the raw and unbridled resolve of 1,000 infracaninophiles. That’s a fuckload of resolve, of course, and sure enough, she blasted a staggering three-RBI double into deep center right! It was a gorgeous and transcendent achievement by any standard, but my team still went down—and down hard—in the tragic flames of a follow-up fly out. Does this mean that in pondering the abstract merits of a triumph denied, Frank was somehow more “worthy” than MaryMary (Quite Contrary), or is it, as I suspect, a discomfiting reflection of the fact that true aerobic justice is as randomly scattered as the initial quanta of the universe itself? I think you see where I’m going with this.

The point is that a couple days ago I happened to be watching CNBC as the stock market reacted to news of the S&P downgrade of US Treasury bonds, and as I absorbed the cogent logic of selling off one’s equities in a panicked rush in order to buy into the safety of the very bonds whose downgrading had just caused the panic, it suddenly occurred to me that the ebbs and flows of capital are as inscrutably wacko as the inevitable and unjust placement of meritorious athletes. Indeed, later that night I saw Steven Hawking on the Discovery channel arguing that the physical essence of everything arises directly from “the unconditional probability of existing based on the functional laws of nature.” Yeah, somebody has to say it; What a moron!

In any case, and as best as I can tell from the empirical evidence gleaned by a single night of cable viewing (over a tall, inviting stein of rich, hot cocoa), we don’t really know why the universe just popped into being, or why markets do what they do, or why Frank ended up on the winning team while Mary was stuck on mine, or, for that matter, why, when Tom and Anne finally returned to England after two long years abroad, only a select few British cities decided to greet them with the traditional celebratory riots. No, my friends, we don’t know the answers to any of that and we most likely never will. Yet as a stout and hearty people who are willing to embrace the great aerobic cosmos for the mystery that it is, I think we all accept that the future is not only unwritten, but distressingly likely to baffle, disappoint and utterly annoy. And therefore there will be a game at Codornices this Sunday at 11, IF I get enough commits by this Friday morning…Raymond

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Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
12 years ago

Sorry but it was tedious reading – overblown vacuous verbiage.