Review: Andrew Forbes’ “The Utility of Boredom – Baseball Essays”

I confess I’m not a sports fan. The spectacle of muscular males smashing into each other has never had much appeal and I certainly can’t wrap my head around statistics. But I feel baseball. I feel the weight of the bat, the arc of a pitch, the dust in the eyes and the lungs of a player as he slides into third.

I come by it honestly: my grandfather was the treasurer for the Boston Red Sox. In the attic of my childhood home was a shoebox full of yellowing baseballs signed by the likes of Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth. The soundtrack of my youth was the sound of a summer afternoon game on the radio—a soothing counterpoint to world weariness, cynicism, and a dysfunctional family.

Baseball has always made me feel both sad and safe, and Peterborough author Andrew Forbes has written a book about that. He writes, “The Utility of Boredom is a book about finding respite and comfort in the order, traditions, and rituals of baseball.” As George Carlin pointed out, the object of baseball is to go home.

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