Inevitably, the decision to call an election changed my plans for April, May and June. I had scheduled some late nights with the Sox on mlb.tv interspersed by a few trips to see Bob on the UK leg of the current European tour.
I am on schedule with this, taking in the excellent series against the Cubs and the less than excellent series against the Yankees, together with – the highlight of the last few months - a show at the London Palladium in which Bob was playful and passionate, full of energy and irony.
I was fortunate enough to be close to the front and right in Bob’s eyeline as he sat at his baby grand piano, which he treated as if it were a battered upright in a public bar.
Jill and I are heading to Bournemouth – “I married Isis on the fifth day of May” – to see him again at the end of this week, when and where we hope the weather holds and we are able, as we did the last time Bob played Bournemouth, to walk along the beach after the show and eat crab sandwiches, washed down with a glass of Sauvignon, silhouetted by the sea and very probably with one hand waving free.
If all this sounds idyllic, and it has been and will be, we mustn’t forget that the country is currently in crisis. My days have been preoccupied with politics – leafleting, talking, discussing and arguing about the future.
I think that we have reached the pits as far as political debate is concerned, with the Tory campaign reduced to personal abuse of Corbyn and robotic reiterations of the nonsensical phrase ‘strong and stable government’ when they are clearly being neither strong nor stable and governing only in name.
Their refusal to discuss policy or take on their opponents, and the refusal of the mainstream press to report this or hold them to account, is not merely a cause for concern, but a denial of democracy. Just thinking about it keeps me awake at night.
But being awake at night allows me to watch the Sox.
Despite the games against Detroit, each of which could easily have gone the other way, and the Yankees, we are, as I write at the beginning of May, only a game back from where were this time last year. There is much about which to take heart: the unsupported pitching of Sale and Porcello and the emergence of Eddie Rodriguez. There is, of course, an equal number of problems., particularly Wright. When a knuckleballer loses it, he loses it big time and that is happening with Wright – I hope tonight proves me wrong.
But the big issue is the hitting.
We are miles away from the production of last year and we have no Papi to bail us out of the slump. But we are playing a new game, a National League game, and managing to get on base regularly and frequently. The runs will surely come. The wins will surely come. And from hovering just over the .500 mark, we will be right up there by the end of this month.
Keep the faith.
In music, in politics, in baseball, what goes around, comes around.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Bob - but not Triplicate, which I’m afraid is proof that one can have too much of a good thing. From my speakers, I am hearing 1975 Rolling Thunder. In my head, I am listening to this newly animated manifestation of a Bob who, remarkably, celebrates his 76th birthday in three weeks but is performing with the same energy as he showed us back in the '60s.