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A Break From Baseball
by alex ciepley
I've been on more or less of a break from writing the past few weeks. This hasn't been due to lack of Cub news, but lack of time. It isn't just the blog that's fallen by the wayside, but baseball itself.
What do I do when I'm off the baseball drug for a short time? Well, work-work, for starters. I'm a New Yorker who has the luxury of not having a New Yorker's typical overworked lifestyle. My job is rarely take-home stressful, and the hours aren't extravagant. But every season or so there is a two-week period which kicks my ass a bit, days when I have to hang up on friends when they call and eschew web-browsing lunch breaks for wage-earning duties. I've been in one of those two-week periods.
What else does this Cub Reporter do when taking a vacation from baseball? He plans a vacation to France. I'm going to Paris and Normandy for a week in mid-March with my best friend, in honor of our ahem-ahem-th birthdays.
I may be the world's most annoying person when it comes to vacation planning. I've bought more books (used! I swear!) about Paris and France in the past month than the number of days I'm going to actually be in France. I've received approximately 15 emails from friends with lists of things I have to do. And I'm still a month away from the trip... just wait until I start visiting the French bistros and cheese shops in NYC to do a dry run of ordering food en francais. Pathetic, neurotic, and uncontrollable, appropriate epithets pour moi.
How do I end my baseball hiatus? By taking one final step back and enjoying the city I call home. Despite living in New York for six years now, I've only recently understood my love for the place. And my planning for Paris has made me realize that I should try being a tourist in my own town from time to time.
Yesterday, I got on the M86 crosstown bus and went through Central Park on the way to the Guggenheim (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3) over on the Upper East Side. Central Park, if you haven't heard, is a bit different these days. The bizarro installation artist Christo has stuck up poles with hanging orange sheets (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3) all around. I thought it looked like something out of that dumb movie The Village; a friend left a message for me--panicked and unaware of the project--wondering if it was some sort of memorial for dead people. The cynic in me would reply, No, not a memorial to dead people, just to excess.
Has baseball been happening? I didn't find out about the Farnsworth trade for a couple days after it happened, a totally disorienting experience since I'm usually obsessive about transactions, acquisitions and the like. I have yet to wrap my head around the Sosa mess, though I figure I may need months and months of distance from Sammy before I can begin to think rationally about both the trade and his place in Cubs history. I have a lot of catching up to do, but thankfully there are still a few days left before pitchers and catchers end their baseball hiatus and show up for their work-work.