Prototype for the cover -- still rough, but coming along. The release date is March 20.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
I told my Composition students that I'd post my essay draft here. It follows:
People complain that baseball is a slow game. At least too slow for television. So, a few years ago, professional baseball adopted “hurry up rules” to answer this criticism. Yet while the average game in 1960 lasted 2 hours 20 minutes, the average game today is 3 hours. Baseball, it appears, resists time limits.
One might say baseball is beyond time. The game is not played against a clock, which makes basketball and football – along with their rectangular fields of play – more suitable for television. Those games feel faster with their start-stop, left-right action. But baseball is played in innings which theoretically can go on forever. Baseball is potentially eternal.
I learned this while playing baseball as a boy in a sandy field next to a cemetery in northern
The field lay below a grassy hill which was fenced around the top and filled
with headstones. An asphalt road, veined with cracks, ran up the field’s middle
past low scrub and clumps of grass. At one end was a chain link fence and gate
and at the other end, a sharp curve up into the cemetery itself. At the elbow
of the curve we dropped home plate, a spare roof shingle from Eddie’s garage,
and we hit toward the fence, the home-run line.
In a way, our field resembled
Park Boston: the pines on the hill to the left
resembled the infamous Green Monster. The low, lumpy shrubs made right field as
unpredictable as Fenway’s nooks and crannies. And in our twelve-year-old minds,
we were the Bosox pursuing the pennant that year in 1967, the 100-to-1 shot
Cinderella team of Yaz, Conigliaro, Petrocelli, and Lonborg. We took turns
being Yaz. Eddie did a good imitation of announcer Mel Parnell and called the
play-by-play. He hung his transistor radio on his bike’s banana seat so we
could hear the real game while we played.
At Cemetery Field, since there were only three or four of us playing at any time, we used “ghost runners” (though I wouldn’t want to press the cemetery imagery too far). We ignored innings and games; we played from dawn to dark for what seemed a timeless forever (again, not to push the cemetery idea too much). We only stopped for lightning storms and funerals, Acts of God (OK, so I am pushing the cemetery idea). If my Mom heard us stomping in early, kicking off our sneakers and snapping open Cokes, she asked “Another parade, boys?” That’s what the funerals looked like. A line of cars driving with their brights behind a hearse processed up the pavement while we stood aside, caps off. The cars curved up and right into the cemetery, like Eddie’s bad pitches. And when the last car crossed over home plate, it was easy to see that baseball, and life, and death had one thing in common: going home.
* * *
Baseball is played in a “park” or a “field,” never a “stadium,” (sorry, Yankee Stadium) for historical reasons.
When the game developed during the late 19th Century, before lights and broadcast contracts, it was played under the sun in a green oasis in the middle of
smoky cities. For factory workers, the “park” provided an escape from the
tyranny of the punch-clock. For just a little while, men who had left the
pastures and fields of rural America in search of a future returned to their unhurried
past and to a place of fresh-cut grass, open sky, and time measured by shadows
Today, however, urgency and noise have overwhelmed the once-peaceful parks. Monstrous “Jumbotrons” flash highlights and tell fans when to cheer. Raucous music blares between innings. Cell phones twitter like starlings beneath the bleachers, showing instant replays in streaming video.
Is this necessary? How did we come to this?
Baseball’s television ratings steadily declined over the 1990’s, losing young viewers to faster back-and-forth games played against an urgent clock. Fox broadcasters tried bringing video-game graphics and sound effects to the rescue, but viewers kept leaking away until 2003 when it seemed possible the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox might meet in the World Series, which surely would have signaled the apocalypse.
It didn’t happen.
But miracles still do. In the next season, the Sox routed the mighty Yanks against impossible odds, and then swept the Cardinals to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
For Boston fans, the time mattered – even though the game itself is an escape from time.
Plato said “Time is the image of eternity.” He was wrong. Baseball is. Strangely, with instant replay, we can now travel in time, back-and-forth, as many times as we want. We can slow time, stop it, reverse it. As in eternity, time in baseball is non-linear and doesn’t truly exist.
Just don’t be late for the first pitch.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
My short story collection, "Blood of the Martyrs and other stories", will be available as a free Kindle download next week, 7/29-8/1. This giveaway is in conjunction with the Catholic Writers Guild LIVE Conference and the Catholic Marketing Network trade show in Chicago. Don't have a Kindle? No problem: the Kindle app is free for all devices. You'll find the ebook here: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Martyrs-other-stories-Desjarlais-ebook/dp/B00A1CUBA6/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406388389&sr=1-7&keywords=john+desjarlais
Thursday, June 20, 2013
I'll be sharing my self-pubbing experiences at the Karitos Arts Festival in July. The following links are mainly for attendees who would like more information than my brief session (and limited experience) can afford.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
I just finished the first draft of the the third installment in the mystery/thriller series, entitled SPECTER. It's a novella, weighing in at about 29,000 words. This was my Sabbatical project, and I plan to self-publish it this summer. Selena De La Cruz is back. This time it's personal.