The crepuscule of early November settles in Citi Field. The World Series is over, tho there are still faded signs stenciled outside the first-and-third-base lines proclaiming it. The mound has been flattened and covered, and there is a mostly dirt pitch carved in what used to be, just a week ago, no-man’s land between second base and center field. Swirling young women dressed in bright-yellow and mulberry silk energetically dance and sing, hip-hop Bollywood-style, below us in right field.
What am I (Evander) doing here? I am witness to an event unique in NYC-professional sports history. And I’m loving every minute of it. I even brought along my underutilized Canon portrait lens to capture the sights: the last days of the Pepsi Porch (to be replaced by the Ovaltine Overpriced Seats or maybe the LSD Lounge I joke), the giant images outside the stadium of Hodges and Seaver; and oh yes, guys inside the coliseum named Sachin Tendulkar, Muttiah Murallitheran, Ricky Ponting, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Shaun Pollock, and many more.
The way Ruth and Gehrig barnstormed the Far East in the 1930s, the way “the Brazilian Pearl” attempted to attract largely indifferent, pre-soccer-mom Americans during the 1960s and 1970s, an all-star—make that an all-time all-star—so an amalgam of international cricket stars have descended from the firmament to entertain, to recapture their glory, to instruct on the mighty elegance of cricket.
Purists cluck: This is not cricket! (On the Houston leg of the tour, T20 was played…under a dome.) There is no real drama for one. Could anyone be remotely credited with moving the needle? I am in no position to disagree. Yet…I largely do. My only puzzled exposure to the noble game had been exactly forty summers ago in Cambridge, county-cricket spread over several evenings, played into 9:30 in the evening—UK-summer dusk. We talk about it in Right off the Bat. But this afternoon, thanks to Martin, to the work on the book, I had a pretty fair notion what I was watching. At the risk of gushing, let me say this: Cricket is majestic. Although I cannot exclaim I came, I saw, I conquered, I did experience the best…even if at three-quarters’ speed. Cricket is back, here, to stay.
And here I am, musing on speed and exposure: Sadly, I had a mishap rewinding my spool of b&w. All the photos are lost I’m afraid. When shooting with a superior lens, occasionally a photographer sees a good one, long before the image is developed and printed. I had at least half-a-dozen good ones. Oh well.
The match was on 11/7. Our book had been published on a 7/11. It was 19 years and a little over since 9/21, that pristine first day of fall, Fan Appreciation Day, when I took Martin to his first baseball game. He caught on right away—aided no doubt by a familiarity with rounders. Thanks to Martin, I caught on last week, if not as keenly as he did during those far-off days ago. Above all, there is not a shred of doubt that this 11/7/15 was a new beginning. I now know for sure, firsthand, that there are World Series and there are world series.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih