Jesse Jarnow

the nice autumn air

Baseball deals in increments of hope: a two-run homer that brings the team within one, a strike closer to a strikeout, an out closer to the end of the game, a victory closer to the end. Each is a small clearing where suddenly a path to the future opens up, and everything is all right.

“There’s more Mets than Yankees in all of us,” Roger Angell once said, or something like it, which is maybe small consolation to a Mets fan this week. But it was a drama to participate in, milked to the very last day of the season: a statistically impossible and literally historic slide with one glorious high before the absolute crash, a redemptive one-hitter/blow-out (with a fight, taboot!), followed by a game in which a future Hall of Famer possibly making his final career start was blown out after giving up five runs in the first, a renowned slugger had his wrist broken by an errant pitch, and a kryptonite-weighted wunderkind ended his honeymoon with the fans. One utility player finished up an all-star career while his wife wept quietly in the stands, and September call-ups packed their bags, hoping for a shot in the spring.

For now, it is time for new routines, new ways to mark the post-agrarian seasonal changes. For some, it’s further escape into different culture industries: the fall movies (Wes Anderson! the Coen brothers!), other sports (a guy next to us at the game was tuned into the Jets today! The Jets!), or even changes that have nothing to do with consumption (taking the train to work instead of riding a bike). They are changes that would have happened with or without baseball, but now we can be aware of the Indian summer rising around us, the last nights to go out on the town and enjoy the air, instead of being lashed to a radio or a ballpark seat. Yeah, that’s the ticket: the nice autumn air.