Whenever I have trouble sleeping, which seems to occur more regularly with age, I turn on the local sports station here in New York—WFAN, Sports Radio 66, the FAN. In place of rest and reinvention, I listen to men and women with biographies polished down to poetry—Bruce from Bayside, Lisa from Whitestone, Ira from Staten Island. To a person, they obsess about strategy and statistics, turning points and missed opportunities, anything that might help them make sense of events completely out of their control.
The overnight, as the five-hour slot is called, is made up entirely of hyperbole and hard lines. An athlete is celebrated or condemned based solely on the latest box score; he is, according to these disembodied voices, only as good as his last at-bat, the previous possession.