“Baseball breaks your heart. It’s designed to break your heart.” -Bart Giamatti
Well does he know it, as does the rest of us. We have special knowledge of it here in Cincinnati, but short of Cooperstown, there are few places all Americans can gather as a nation to discuss such things. But I found a temporary one, and it’s free, so there’s plenty left over for beer and ammo.
Party destination: The Library of Congress.
I know, right? I’m an English major and I never set foot in it, even when living in DC, even when I found out it has actual books in it. I was under the impression it was off-limits to non-Congressional scrubs such as myself, and that it was constructed in the Age of Public Ugly and thereby reflected everything bad about the 1970s, which was everything.
LOOK AT IT.
IT’S A TEMPLE TO BOOKS!
This is my favorite picture. Look how this particular exhibit room is also a repository for a tiny sliver of the Library’s collection. They have book storage problems, just like me! They have to load them next to their stained glass skylights and life-sized Ty Cobb cut-outs!
And for the next few months, also baseball.
But this is what I really came to gaze upon. You’ve probably seen a reprint of this, or maybe copies of it in the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, but I promise you haven’t laid eyes on such a vibrant, pristine copy:
The Library of Congress requires no filters. Or salary caps.
I learned that here in Cincinnati, we are long since known for our progressive attitudes towards openly professional games.
What I like best about the Baseball Americana exhibit is that it completely avoids delicate and furor-inducing questions.
This is an issue we all agree upon, anyway.
Most of all, I like remembering that we all leave our mark in this world in different ways. Some of us more legibly than others.
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.