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Must-click link: Roger Angell on aging

Feb 18, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT

Roger Angell

There is almost no baseball here, but Roger Angell is easily America’s best living baseball writer. Maybe best living or dead baseball writer. His receiving the Spink Award this year is icing on the cake, but the guy has been amazing forever. We will provide latitude to link to his non-baseball stuff when warranted. This is warranted.

Angell is 93 now. And this piece at The New Yorker is him contemplating age and mortality. And it’s a beautiful contemplation. Neither morose nor maudlin nor dismissive. He faces and considers aging and death in a matter-of-fact way that I hope I am able to when I am 20 or 30 years younger than he is now. Hell, I know 40-year-olds like me who don’t have any kind of a grasp on it. To see a 93-year-old wrestle with it as well as Angell does is just astounding and wonderful.

  1. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    zzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzz

    • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      You should see a doctor about those sleep interruptions you got going on there.

      • yahmule - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Narcolepsy is the least of his problems.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        I was worried he might have apnea and the oxygen wouldn’t get to his brain right.

      • abaird2012 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Yeah, amentia CAN cause you to doze off at the worst possible times.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        Amentia’s a b!tch.

  2. bankboy2012 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    His anthologies were a big part of my childhood and still get read as frequently as I can even now. If I even make it to 93 I’d settle for being a fraction as eloquent about anything much less a reflection on my own mortality.

    • dlf9 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      I am almost exactly half Roger Angell’s age … I would be thrilled to be a fraction as eloquent today, let alone when I’m in my 90s.

  3. largebill - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Interesting read. Everyone considers aging and our mortality differently. There is no “right way” to go, but I’m sure we can all think of several wrong ways to check out. I have no fear of dying, but would be terrified at the prospect of a prolonged incarceration in a nursing home with the loss of dignity that goes with it.

  4. dlf9 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    One – I hope that I can live with that same sense of enjoyment of life no matter how long I am blessed to be able to be here.

    Two – I absolutely love that Angell, now in his tenth decade, shows the same naughty sense of humor that most fourth graders share and the same interest in sex of the teenagers. Two insertions a week for fourteen years … Walter Cronkite’s three rules …

  5. dlf9 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Recommended link: Angell That is all the Angell “New Yorker” articles and blogs that you can read without a subscription.

    That someone who watched Gehrig and DiMaggio, wrote beautifully about Gibson and Mays, and still shows such joy in Ortiz or Rivera gives me great hope that I too can somehow miss the ‘get off my lawn’ illness.

    • dlf9 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      That link is broken. It should not end until after the author’s last name, but the space between first and last throws off this poster’s limited linking abilities. Sorry.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

      thank you for the link. it made my evening.

  6. nymets4ever - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Boring. Did you get the memo, it’s Spring Training. There are actual athletes to write about now. No one wants to read about some old man waxing philosophical about life, death, and the afterlife.

    • raysfan1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Did you get the memo that you required neither to read nor comment on articles that don’t interest you? As for “no one” wanting to read the linked article, there are a number of comments to the contrary above yours–making your comment false to begin with.

    • zzalapski - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      HBT thumbs down is not the next bitcoin. It’s not going to be any meaningful form of legal tender, so I’m not sure why he’s posting like he’s an asshole. Unless he went to the School for Assholes.

      • cur'68 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        He majored in asshole. Minored in douchebag.

      • nbjays - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        I understand dirtyharry was his instructor.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      well said nymets4ever you are one of the few and I mean very few people worth reading around here. Id give you 50 thumbs up if I could.

      • yahmule - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Thumbs up where?

  7. hojo20 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Thanks Craig. Good reading for the train ride home.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:34 AM


      • hojo20 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Yes! I’m on the train for 45 min to go to the city.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        That must be nice. There are no trains where I live. Well, just the kind that haul stuff through anyway.

  8. sdelmonte - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Hard to read, and yet you have to. I am half his age, and starting to ponder all the things that he’s lived through. I don’t want to ponder them. Maybe I shouldn’t. But he’s been there and is saying “we endure.”

    Here’s hoping for a few more World Series wrap-ups from him. He is one of the greats.

  9. happytwinsfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    this guy makes me think of bertrand russell, who wrote brilliantly up to days before his death at age 98.

    he isn’t writing about dying. he’s writing about living while close to the end, and how in some ways the last part is the best part. he mentioned how younger people listen to but don’t really consider the words of someone his age, what he called being “invisible”. i hope he knows that he isn’t invisible to his readers.

    • yahmule - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Beautiful post. Also, anytime someone mentions Bertrand Russell it makes me smile.

  10. larrytsg - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    The one undertone of his, that is subtle but quite constant, isn’t his raunchiness, nor his annoyance at his aged invisibility, but rather his companionship of the canine variety.

    It took until my mid 40’s to learn how wonderful and fulfilling it is to be with a dog (I’m sure cat people like Craig feel the same). When things aren’t going your way, either your job, your kids, your spouse (or lack of spouse), the dog is always there, and always in a good mood, and truly happy that you’re there with them.

    A good read, not exciting, but not everything in life is exciting, nor is everything exciting necessarily interesting.

  11. jwbiii - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Roger Angell could write about paint drying or snow melting and make it interesting. That he often wrote about the game we love both ennobled the game and showed his good taste.

  12. nbjays - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    I’ve always enjoyed Roger Angell’s writing. Guys like him are what makes this great game stand head and shoulders above every other sport.

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