Craig Calcaterra

I write about baseball for NBC I write about other things here.
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This is on the wall of the restroom at the tack store where Allison shops. Because of course it is.

They fight a lot. But they play together more than they fight. And they get really mad when you say they’re best friends. But they are.

Anna drinking tea


Before Tom Glavine was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, Hall of Famers were Titans to me. Immortals. Super Heroes. They sprang from the head of Zeus or were sent here from some distant star and treated Earth as their plaything. They were superstars when I came to know who they were,…

I wrote this.

I watched “Battlestar Galactica” for the first time in 2011. I bought my treadmill, put a TV with Netflix in front of it and chose a show with spaceships and action and stuff. It worked well. I lost, like, 30 pounds watching that show, so it did me a solid. But it also got a little too far into my head.

As I was watching it on the treadmill in 2011, my marriage was collapsing. I began to see — or maybe just hallucinate — all kinds of parallels between what happened on the show and what was happening in real life. Not literally, of course. I mean, I would have remembered it if cyborgs and robots and shit came after me.  But it did work pretty damn well as grand metaphor.

The end of the world as I knew it going on as the the world ended for the characters. They kept their ship, I kept my house and all efforts were made to maintain normalcy and civilization as we knew it even when it made no sense to do so. Eventually it got to a point where Galactica couldn’t go on anymore. It made its last jump, its back was broken and all that was left to do was to fly it into the sun and start over.

I never truly did that. I’ve done a lot to start over and reboot and make peace with my new, post-apocalyptic reality, but I never went all the way. I look around sometimes and still see little octagonal pieces of paper and formalities and routines that are designed to impose order over chaos and make everything run smoothly. I’ve needed those things at times. I’ve needed to maintain the fiction that life is not all that different than it was before and that I’m still in command of a ship with long-established rules and a clearly laid out mission.

I just started re-watching Battlestar Galactica again. As I get further back into it, I feel less and less sure of those rules and that mission. Maybe because I know what will happen this time. Maybe because I know how untenable holding on to the old ways is.

I wonder if we’ve had too many system breakdowns and compromises of protocol to continue on as if nothing were different. I wonder, sometimes, if I need to just disembark to a safe warm place and send the old battlestar and all it represents into the sun.

Anna helped make broccoli cheddar soup. Like, she actually helped.

Greg Maddux was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He’ll be inducted this July. He was, bar none, my favorite baseball player of all time.

As someone who has consumed baseball via television for most of his life — indeed, that’s how a kid in West Virginia found the Braves in the first place — I only got to see Maddux pitch in person one time. And he wasn’t even with the Braves anymore.

It happened in 2006. Maddux had just been traded by the Cubs to the Dodgers and was pitching for them against the Reds in Cincinnati. I was there with a group of summer clerks from my law firm.

The game meant nothing to either team. Maddux was past his prime. It rained in the middle and I had too much to drink and felt crappy the next morning.  Yet it was easily the best experience I’ve ever had in a ballpark.

Below is a near-contemporaneous account of that game I typed out in an email to my friend Ethan on my old Palm Treo on the bus back up to Columbus. Yes, I was drunk, so yes, I have edited it a bit for clarity. But this is basically what I sent him.

I’ve reproduced this on various blogs over the past few years but, in honor of Maddux making the Hall of Fame, it’s worth revisiting again.

From: Craig
To: Ethan
Date: Friday, August 4, 2006 at 12:31 AM
Re: Maddux

So we took all of our summer clerks down to Cincinnati tonight for the Reds-Dodgers game. We’re on the way back in the big custom bus now. Fabulous night. Maddux gets traded to L.A. last weekend. Tonight is his first start for them. The stars align, and I get to see my favorite player tonight. I buy a Dodgers hat and wear it down just to support Maddux, and, I’ll admit, to be a bit annoying to Reds fans.

Maddux has a huge fork in his back. He is done. Kinda hard to watch him the last year or two, but I still root. I expect little or nothing from him.

Game starts. He gives up an early walk and I think it will be a long night. Then he starts throwing bullets. One. Two. Three. Five innings of no-hit ball. It’s 1994 all over again. Sixth inning starts. Long fly … caught. Another … caught. Lightening in a bottle. Third batter comes up and he mows him down too. I’m alone in a ballpark screaming at the top of my lungs. No-hitter in effect. I know it won’t last. Even in his prime Maddux never threw a no hitter because he’s around the plate too much. He can’t not throw strikes, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. He gets hit. That’s what he does. Still, I think how nice it would be to not see him give up a hit.

As the top of the seventh begins, the skies open up and a deluge falls on Great American Ballpark. Lightning. Thunder. The Dodgers bat, and the half inning ends just as the umps call for a delay and the tarp comes out. Forty minutes. I know that there is no chance that Maddux is coming out for the bottom of the 7th. He’s 40. His arm will be tight. He’s a Hall of Famer already. He doesn’t need the no-no to make him happy. They got him for the stretch run and they need to save his arm. Still, part of me hopes. 

The game resumes with some kid I’ve never heard of on the mound. He gives up a hit to the first batter. Never send a boy to do a man’s job.

Dodgers win 3-0. Maddux gets the win. I get to see him pitch like he was in his prime again, and got to see him leave before anyone remembered he didn’t have it anymore.

Here’s the box score.

I was almost too old for heroes when Maddux came up in the late 80s. I was definitely too old for heroes by the time he retired over 20 years later. I’ll never consider an athlete to be a hero again.

Thanks for making it in just under the wire, Greg.

My mom brought some old records over to store at my place. This gem among them.

A lot has changed in Columbus in the past 20+ years. Not Stauf’s.

Coq au vin: the finished product.