Paschal: The dimensions of nostalgia: an account of how it is

From John Paschal at The Hardball Times on February 27, 2019:

I write about baseball at an L-shaped desk on one side of a square room.

Before me, about 12 feet beyond my screen, are three vertical bookshelves crowded with books. One is about baseball, and I haven’t read it yet. To my left is an identical bookshelf. It, too, is crowded with books, but just two are about baseball. Point is, if you were to enter this office, you’d see scant evidence that I even enjoy the Pastime, let alone use language to describe it.

In time, though, you’d see on the far end of the L-shaped desk a wooden item measuring 12 inches in length, 12 in width and six in height. Per its box, it is called Original Circa Baseball: A Classic Pinball-Style Baseball Game.

The box cover itself is a study in deliberate nostalgia. On the bottom right are color reproductions of three old baseball cards — of Lefty Grove, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb — all evocative of baseball’s Golden Age, when the game’s lore and mystique rooted itself in today’s grainy images. On the upper left is a black-and-white photo of an anonymous youth baseball team in 1963, in Anywhere, America, posing before an outfield fence bearing an advertising sign for boys apparel. Just beside the photo is an image of a hardback book open to a black-and-white print of a long-ago baseball game, its male spectators wearing bowler hats and suit jackets. Beneath that horizontal photo, partially obscured, is the opening line of “Casey at the Bat.”

Centering the montage, beside a pristine baseball, is a photo of the pinball game itself, bordered by the sentimental tokens of the way things used to be.

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Originally published: March 4, 2019. Last Updated: March 4, 2019.