"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Any Boston fan who cheered Cuban expatriate Luis Tiant in the '70s would agree he belongs in the Hall. Those so inclined might light one of his signature cigars to the cause.
What a treat he was to watch. The New Yorker's Roger Angell wrote at the time:
His repertoire begins with an exaggerated mid-windup pivot, during which he turns his back on the batter and seems to examine the infield directly behind the mound for signs of crabgrass. With men on bases, his stretch consists of a succession of minute downward waggles and pauses of the glove, and a menacing sidewise, slit-eyed, Valentino-like gaze over his shoulder at the baserunner. The full flower of his art, however, comes during the actual delivery, which is executed with a perfect variety show of accompanying gestures and impersonations.
Baseball, like many other good gifts from God, can give us a temporary happiness that points us toward the happiness that lasts. One fine day in 1975, as I was coming out of the seven lean years of my life, I walked the 12 miles from my parents' home (where I was visiting) to the Atlantic Ocean and stared out at it. Then I looped back to Fenway Park, where the Red Sox had an evening game against the dreaded Yankees.
I sat in the right-field bleachers as pitcher Luis Tiant twisted indescribably on the mound. (If you have ever watched his idiosyncratic wind-up, you can picture it in your mind's eye right now.) He pitched brilliantly, the Red Sox had some timely hits, and they led 5-2 after eight innings. That's when I did something exceedingly rare in my life: I left a game early.
The reason was neither rush nor boredom; for some inexplicable reason (because the facts of my life did not warrant joy) I was filled with happiness. I didn't want to lose that moment, so I walked out into the night before anything could go wrong. I walked out thinking, "It doesn't get any better than this."
But of course, through God's grace, it did, because a fine baseball game is just a shadow of what God has in store for us.