I’ve finally gotten around to reading “Fever Pitch” by Nick Hornby, who may be my favorite contemporary writer. It’s really nothing like the movie of the same name, as it’s about the sport called football by everyone outside North America.

Anyway, despite the subject being soccer, I can see why we had to have a movie here where baseball was substituted for the object of affection. There are some universal themes in there relating to the obsessive fandom we’re all engaged in.

Frankly, I’m frightened by how clearly several passages seem to be describing me. Like this one, from Hornby’s introduction, wherein he addresses his obsession with the football club Arsenal:

Fever Pitch is an attempt to gain some kind of angle on my obsession. Why has the relationship that began as a schoolboy crush endured for nearly a quarter of a century, longer than any other relationship I have made of my own free will? (I love my family dearly, but they were rather foisted on me….) And why has this affinity managed to survive my periodic feelings of indifference, sorrow and very real hatred?

Good questions. Why, indeed?

Okay, I just needed to get that off my chest. I’m admitting publicly that I have a problem, and I dare say most of you are in the same boat.

Use this thread to discuss that topic, and anything else you want, including tonight’s All-Star Game. We’ll make this an official Game Thread.

7 Responses

  1. Ken

    The Colin Firth film version was solid, but the Fallon version was almost unwatchable. I realize it’s for a mass audience, but the parts where they explain the “Curse” and other Red Sox myths were so incredibly contrived.

  2. Jimmy

    My obsession has survived moving away from Kentucky to Las Vegas 17 years ago. It has demanded that I have MLB audio and XM both to hear Marty and the Cowboy and Nuxy (RIP old lefthander, you’re finally home). I had to get Direct TV. Now I post on websites when I should be running my law firm. In younger days, I would tape the end of Marty’s broadcast to listen to it the next day, hoping the game would end before the tape ran out, avoiding the newspaper until I had finished the tape. Why? Precisely because the Reds and sports are timeless and constant, coming back every year.

  3. Mark the Red

    Baseball is living history, to paraphrase James Earl Jones in Field o Dreams.

    The Reds are Cincinnati history alive and well. The Reds allow each of us to connect to the city and our families unlike anything else but possibly church, and a church is only if your family has stayed with one and has memebers buried there.

    My grandma, born in 1912, tells stories of going to the games on streetcars, seeing Eppa Rixey pitch, and seeing a double header go 10 innings first game and 17 innings the second. My other grandma tells stories of “little” Bob Castellini doing neighborhood jobs and helping her with the yard.

    My Dad kept baseball cards for me, mostly Reds team sets and a few others. He even has two original Crosley Field seats that he claims will be coming my way before he meets his maker. Johnny Bench autographed a ball for me in 1983 while ignoring all the other screaming fans clamoring for his attention just because he had been friends with my Mom some decade or more earlier (actually, Mom called over Ted Power and he dutifully went into the clubhouse and out came Mr. Bench).

    Like many, I moved away from Cincinnati at a young age but kept family ties to the area and have always felt it to be home. Watching, rooting, and suffering for the Reds helps keep it that way forever, even for a mid 30’s beach lawyer in NC…

  4. RedinFla

    I remember working to get straight A’s on my report card so I could get free tickets from the Dayton Daily News to go see the Big Red Machine. Moved away, ignored baseball until a few years ago when my daughter discovered the Reds on TV at my parents’ house (they won every game the week we were there). She has way surpassed my love for the game — a few weeks ago her final report card arrived in the mail. When she started jumping and hollering about her “final E.R.A.” (she meant G.P.A.), I knew I had passed the torch…

  5. JerBear

    Great job by Francisco Cordero…plus I thought the Reds uni on him looked pretty sharp. Our return to the more classic home jerseys was a very good move. Now if we just had a good team!

  6. Shelby

    There is nothing like hanging onto every pitch, just begging for some good at bats. I started watching the Reds when Barry Larkin came aboard, funny thing is I found my love for the Reds before I even knew it was my dad’s team growing up, he was raised just across the river in Covington. I remember walking to games by myself around the age of 10 or so and buying a $5 cheap seat and by the second inning I would be sitting just a few rows back from the Reds Dugout. No one ever thought to question a wandering 10yr. old so I figured I would get as good as seat as possible, usually next to an older couple so that it looked as if I were with them at the game. I live in Indianapolis now and have to deal with an ungodly amount of Cubs fans which just drives me crazy and mainly because I grew up despising the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants, as soon as we revamped the divisions I had Cubs fans down my throat about being a Reds fan in the Central Division. I will always love my Redlegs and even try to convert a cubbie or two along the way.

  7. Ken

    Great story about Giamatti, Pinson. There’s a heartbreaking moment in Sideways where Paul Giamatti is stealing money from his mom’s dresser drawer and looks at a picture of him and his (real-life) dad, who in the movie has also presumably passed. A nice touch.