After reading David B. Hart’s essay on baseball,  A Perfect Game , Adam Omelianchuk attended a game—and remembered the game is less than perfect than described :

There was much to be thankful for and Hart’s mediations swept over me as if the perfect Platonic Forms were bleeding into the material world from the pitcher’s mound.

And it did not take longer than five innings to be disabused of this frilly nonsense.

One of the things that has always troubled me about the Platonic Forms is that they only seem to be invoked to explain beautiful things. Their changelessness, their perfection, their timelessness are naturally thought to comport with the beautiful.  Ugliness is thought to be a distinct feature of the finite world that fails conform to the perfection of the Forms. But it seems just as plausible to imagine Forms of horror, for they leave evidence of their ugliness that goes beyond the mere frailty of nature. Baseball seems to point to this reality.

If Dante had known of baseball he would have included it in one of the many circles hell. Souls under the wrath of God would be subject to watching their home team get two quick outs and the away team drive in four straight runs off of a couple of walks and four singles. We might be tempted to say this somehow fits into the game’s greatness, but there is no evidence to support this banal notion when one observes how this tortured process comes about.


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Articles by Joe Carter

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