Oh, it was a late night on the high-school baseball beat. Even when I stay up late, I still get up early, not because of preference but because I just can’t get back to sleep. I’ll get drowsy as the afternoon wanes. Thank God for coffee.

My machine’s on the fritz. I’ve gotten tired of dilly-dallying with it. I’ve spent too much time cleaning out the needle and running vinegar through it. That used to be a once-a-month thing. I put another coffee machine in my Amazon cart several weeks ago. Every time I was about to buy it, the current machine would miraculously work. I finally punched the button on Sunday. It can’t get here too soon. This morning I staggered out of bed and into my slippers and then the truck, and drove to Hardee’s for two omelet biscuits and a large coffee.

Then I joined a Zoom conference on the new website, coming soon to a county near this one, and caught up on editing a couple news items that arrived in email, and, to fend off fatigue mainly, I started writing this. A man’s got to keep himself occupied. A really rotten movie is on. The natives of the island can’t hit the side of a barn with their spears. The English castaways, who nonetheless speak in American dialects, throw with pinpoint accuracy.

But I digress.

I love baseball, but it’s not only that. I love writing about it. Ballplayers can’t afford to be tight when a fastball might be zipping unexpectedly at their heads. They’re loose, playful and fond of madcap antics. Because I am also taking photographs, I can see all this at close range.

I love football, too, but its athletes – in high school, they’re often the same ones – are on edge. If I cracked a joke on a football sideline, the looks would melt butter.

Basketball players are always running – doing layups, running into and out of the locker rooms – and little opportunity for chitchat occurs. Most of my chitchat with basketball players occurs in the stands during the first half of a junior-varsity game and then mainly if I know their daddies.

NASCAR was once like baseball and probably still is, but an impenetrable layer of protectors, buddies, yes men and sycophants can be almost impossible to navigate. Part of the difference is the level, of course. Part of is also an unavoidable consequence of its success. Now NASCAR is on the wane and can’t remember how to regain its soul. It probably wouldn’t seem so bad if I were still there.

All sports provide the writer with the same task. All he or she can write is what he or she can see.