What a treat to watch Madison Bumgarner.
He did not need the third victory in the Series; saving the championship was quite spectacular enough. Whatever convoluted process the official scorers went through, they got it right by eventually giving the victory to Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched well and was the reliever of record when the Giants went ahead. No sentimental decisions necessary.
I covered Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson when they pitched in October, on little rest. I could see up close how exhausted they were. Bumgarner seemed to have more left. It's nice being 25.
Gibson extended himself at the end of the 1964 season -- no playoff rounds then -- but look what he did: eight straight complete games, then an eight-inning victory, an eight-inning loss and a four-inning relief victory over the terrorizing little Mets on the final day, to win the pennant.
I can still see him on the stairs in the old Busch Stadium clubhouse. When somebody asked how his arm felt, he shouted: "Horseshit!"
Somebody asked Johnny Keane, the manager, why he had stuck with Gibson from the day he became manager through the turgid final week of the season.
Keane replied: "I had a commitment to his heart."
It remains one of the most beautiful things I ever heard a manager say about a player.
Then Gibson beat the Yankees in the Series. These days, baseball burns its best pitchers with all these post-season series. Bumgarner just kept going. There is a moral in there somewhere, about allowing great pitchers to pitch. For now, what a privilege to watch him pitch.
More and More, I Talk to the Dead--Margaret Renkl
NASHVILLE — After my mother died so suddenly — laughing at a rerun of “JAG” at 10 p.m., dying of a hemorrhagic stroke by dawn — I dreamed about her night after night. In every dream she was willfully, outrageously alive, unaware of the grief her death had caused. In every dream relief poured through me like a flash flood. Oh, thank God!
Then I would wake into keening grief all over again.
Years earlier, when my father learned he had advanced esophageal cancer, his doctor told him he had perhaps six months to live. He lived far longer than that, though I never thought of it as “living” once I learned how little time he really had. For six months my father was dying, and then he kept dying for two years more. I was still working and raising a family, but running beneath the thin soil of my own life was a river of death. My father’s dying governed my days.
After he died, I wept and kept weeping, but I rarely dreamed about my father the way I would dream about my mother nearly a decade later. Even in the midst of calamitous grief, I understood the difference: My father’s long illness had given me time to work death into the daily patterns of my life. My mother’s sudden death had obliterated any illusion that daily patterns are trustworthy.
Years have passed now, and it’s the ordinariness of grief itself that governs my days. The very air around me thrums with absence. I grieve the beloved high-school teacher I lost the summer after graduation and the beloved college professor who was my friend for more than two decades. I grieve the father I lost nearly 20 years ago and the father-in-law I lost during the pandemic. I grieve the great-grandmother who died my junior year of college and the grandmother who lived until I was deep into my 40s.
Some of those I grieve are people I didn’t even know. How can John Prine be gone? I hear his haunting last song, “I Remember Everything,” and I still can’t quite believe that John Prine is gone.
Jan. 30, 2023