NOW I KNOW HOW RIP VAN WINKLE FELT.
Normally I follow baseball news to such a degree that the call-up of pitcher Hilly Hathaway by the California Angels would be earthshaking to me. But I've been across the Pond for the last seven weeks, most of the time in France, sipping vin and watching the dollar drop. Oh, occasionally I would peruse the International Herald Tribune, but reading that otherwise estimable paper for baseball news is like deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls. I do know a great deal about the Maastricht treaty, however.
Having been away from the game for so long, I touched down early last week with great anticipation, eager to rush headlong into the inevitable pennant races and catch up on the September call-ups. Upon arrival at home, though, I got an awakening nearly as rude as the French are supposed to be.
The first message on my telephone answering machine was from a producer of one of the network morning news shows. She wanted to know if I could come on the next day to talk about baseball. Fortunately the call had been from the day before, so I missed out on my opportunity. I can just imagine what my conversation with the host would have been like.
"What's your take on Fay Vincent, Steve?"
"I think he's going to hang in there, come hell or high water."
"Uh, Steve, he resigned yesterday."
"He did? Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle."
"What about the pennant races?"
"Well, if the Oakland A's can keep Jose Canseco healthy...."