We’re on the doorstep of baseball season, which is, in short, a relief, and I am pleased to share with you the birth of Short Relief, a Monday-Friday column from the wonderful folks at Baseball Prospectus. What it is: a daily collection of two or three short pieces by a variety of writers. The content: think baseball-adjacent—ephemera, trivia, exploration.
My first offerings include:
- “The Mathematical Beauty of Maikel Franco”: a consideration of perfect numbers, Yoko Ogawa’s novel The Housekeeper and the Professor, and Maikel Franco hitting dingers
- “The Charge of the Wide-Eyed Brigade”: a pastiche of Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in honor of Joey Cora
- “Baseball’s Favorite Hockey Player”: a little look back on Canadian slugger Larry Walker
And to date, we’ve had dizzy bat races, Langston Hughes shout-outs, classical pianists, aesthetic disputes on baseball card design, and ever so much more.
My work goes up on Mondays, and this is the first longish-term regularly recurring writing gig of my life. It comes in addition to the rest of life—teaching, novel-writing, visiting-writers-series-directing, occasional Classical-editing—but here on the fourth weekend of preparing a piece, it is thus far most diverting. Aside from being an opportunity to write and work with really talented baseball writing folks, many of whom do this for a living, it’s quite exciting to have a regularly scheduled front-facing outlet. (As opposed to my usual writing life, which is mostly me facing the keyboard, pre-dawn.)
So stop by the Short Relief archive sometime. The pieces are short—300-500 words—and quite a lot of fun, playing with genre and expectation, and celebrating, as series editor and progenitor Patrick Dubuque writes, “the aesthetic, the metaphorical, and the ridiculous aspects of baseball as an unproductive labor that induces such devotion and contentment.”