I’ve previously mentioned The Classical, the forthcoming sports writing blog currently in preview mode. Their plan is to get up and running in a month or so, and I hope to offer my thoughts on the new site shortly thereafter.
In the meantime, they’ve been posting a few articles and other bits to give readers a sense of what’s to come. Here’s Paul Flannery on Bill Lee:
Lee called himself a “baseball conservative” in his Little Red (Sox) Book, a reimagining of the franchise’s history through the eyes of Chairman Lee. He also describes himself as a socially liberal, hippie, Rastafarian, Zen-Buddhist Communist with a lot of Catholic guilt. That covers a lot of ground, but still doesn’t cover everything. His “Spaceman” persona was never an act. Bill Lee really is Bill Lee, an anti-establishment hero with a quick mind, nasty wit, and far-left politics. On the mound, though, he is a sweet-natured traditionalist, albeit one with a vicious competitive streak.
Lee comes from a family of ballplayers. His grandfather played in the Pacific Coast League and his father played semi-pro ball, but it was his aunt Annabelle who taught him how to pitch. Annabelle Lee threw a perfect game and two no-hitters during her nine-year career, which included a run in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. From Annabelle, Bill learned about mechanics, changing speeds, and keeping hitters off-balance. These are the same lessons he is now imparting to his young charges.
. . .
It’s tempting to dismiss Lee as a merry prankster in cleats; a cosmic goof foisted on the baseball establishment, playing to the amusement of enlightened beings everywhere. But 29 years is a long time to keep up a gag, even for someone as stubborn as him. His eyes are alight with the promise of adventure, but his face betrays the hard years of life on the road.
“I’m the white rabbit without a clock,” he says by way of an exit. He and Diana are gone in an instant.
If there’s a more beautiful name than Annabelle Lee, I haven’t heard it.