“It was small–of course–about the size of [a] book of matches, bound in dark green leather. On the spine was stamped, in ant-high golden letters, How to Catch Lightning and Smoke, and on the title page the author’s name was given as one E. Peavine. The print inside was almost too small for Ethan to make out. He could tell from the diagrams, though, that the book concerned baseball–specifically, the position of catcher. Of all the positions in the game, this was the one, with its mysterious mask and armor, to which Ethan had always felt the most drawn. But the fact that to play catcher you really had to understand the rules of the game had always cared him away.


‘The first and last duty of the lover of the game of baseball,’ Peavine’s book began,

whether in the stands or on the field, is the same as that of the lover of life itself: to pay attention to it. When it comes to the position of catcher, as all but fools and shortstops will freely acknowledge, this solemn requirement is doubled.

[…] It was here, playing for the Snake Island Wapatos amid the cotton-woods and wildflower glades of the seventy-two-team Flathead League, that he [Peavine] had first begun, in his words, ‘to grasp the fundamental truth: a baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day.'”

~ Michael Chabon, Summerland


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