‘The Hector Quesadilla Story’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Boyle, T.C. 1984

The Hector Quesadilla Story by T. Coraghessan Boyle, 1984

The magic trick:

Writing about baseball with elegant sentences

Yesterday I praised Eliot Asinof for giving the reader access to the inner thoughts of a hitter during what amounted to a standard-issue baseball game story you might read in the newspaper (tablet?). Today, I have similar praise for T.C. Boyle. He, too, elevates what could be a normal journalistic report about a baseball game (though there Is nothing normal about the game on which he is reporting). The standout magic trick he shows off, though, is his use of colorful language. Many of these sentences jump off the page for their vivid description. It’s a technique that is effective in any story. But when the topic is something as mundane as a regular-season baseball game, it only stands out that much more. And that’s quite a trick on Boyle’s part.

The selection:

Right away it looks like trouble, because Chester Bubo is running around right field looking up at the sky like a bird-watcher while the ball snakes through the grass, caroms off his left foot, and coasts like silk to the edge of the warning track. Morales meanwhile is rounding second and coming on for third, running in slow motion, flat-footed and hump-backed, his face drained of color, arms flapping like the undersized wings of some big flightless bird. It’s not even close. By the time Bubo can located the ball, Morales is ten feet from the plate, pitching into a face-first slide that’s at least three parts collapse and that’s it, the Braves are up by one. It looks black for the home team.

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