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4×2

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The neighborhood comes to this park, where each of our back yards is extended to ten, 20, 50 times its actual size. It’s a short walk for some of us, a brief drive for others, but for all those who bring their dogs to this anonymous oasis, it’s a daily destination that ranks just behind our children’s schools and just ahead of our workplaces…

David’s Girl

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She stood on the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega, facing north, placidly holding a sign. For several weeks she took up this post on Friday afternoon, baring her soul to the dense traffic growling to move at the light. Each week she hoisted a new sign, and stayed until darkness made her quit…

Graded

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This was the period in my life when new and startling ideas pelted me daily with the insistence of a bully chucking snow balls, and I couldn’t shed my ignorance fast enough to move into position to retaliate…

Bonded

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Whatever else you do in baseball, you keep coming back for more; empty bases or an oh-and-oh count demand the attempt to shake that blank state into something that can be retold. And there is honor in that dogged repetition. Every kid who has ever played with a ghost man on second observes it. It has something to do with leaving the game better than you found it…

In Memoriam

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These are the stories that run unaccompanied by photos, in spare columns deep in the paper, the small bursts of danger and demise that form the background pattern of modern life. We read them all the time, not closely, but with an eye for any familiar details—a name, an age, a location. The victims are almost uniformly anonymous, our six degrees of separation stretched into double figures…

The Pointer’s Perfect Arc

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It’s tempting to recall those ball-battering marathons with cheap nostalgic reverence, and lather them up with clichés about innocence and timelessness. Bunk! It was baseball at the street level, away from the organized game we played in flannel uniforms for pot-bellied coaches and the bellowing herds of local Moose, Elk, and Lions…