For the first time since 1975, Thomas M. Boswell will not be covering the World Series, ending a 252-game streak. "I don't think it's smart for a 72-year-old man in a pandemic," writes the Washington Post sports columnist. But the choice has left him pining for the "marvelous misery" of the task. Miserable because it's, well, exhausting. Last October, Boswell flew "from DC to Los Angeles to DC to LA to St. Louis to DC to Houston to DC to Houston to DC," writing 21 columns and a book chapter. More words were left on the cutting room floor due to late changes in the game. "Rip up, start again"—that's a guarantee in baseball. "You return to your hotel room between 2 and 4am, often after writing multiple versions of your story, including one for the print paper," Boswell notes. "And you wonder how stories on games that end at 1am get in the paper on your doorstep at 6am."
So where's the marvelous part? He explains: "You can’t plan out World Series stories ahead of time. You can do homework to prep, can come up with story ideas or themes. But baseball usually blows them up. World Series reality makes surrealism seem boring." That creates a situation where you don't know "where the words you are writing are coming from or what will come next. You give yourself over totally to the moment and to blind trust—what's the alternative?—in yourself," he writes. "Sometimes, you'll finish with tears on your face," he adds. "You may say, 'It's only baseball,' and you'd be right. But I suspect that creativity, whether the scale is miniature or masterpiece, feels a little bit similar." (The full piece, including some of Boswell's favorite World Series moments, is here.)