Brief Excerpts from Werner Herzog’s Guide to Baseball


It’s not probable, but certainly possible, that German filmmaker and ubermensch among just regular menschen Werner Herzog has written a guide to baseball.

It’s possible, if not necessarily probable, that what follows constitutes brief excerpts from that selfsame text.

It’s not unusual for men, the majority of whom proceed through life under the influence of meticulously cultivated delusions, to find themselves consumed by sick horror when compelled finally to confront the reality of the human predicament. The batter’s experience of a well-thrown changeup is a microcosm of this nauseous epiphany.

Many broadcasters and other baseball men take some joy, it would seem, in cheerfully reminding the public that even the best hitters succeed only three out of every 10 times. One notes, however: it is only those who refrain from invoking that well-used proverb who comprehend its harrowing implications.


The pitcher who has no idea where the ball is going, or the batter who has no idea where the ball is going: who is more terrified?


It is neither the case that Klaus Kinski was the Billy Martin of filmmaking, nor that Martin was the Kinski of sport. That would be to understate the transcendent nature of their emotional tyranny. They were parasites of the species, both of them.


Research indicates that the aging curve both for pitchers and hitters isn’t a curve at all, but rather a slope descending constantly from left to right. The immutable conclusion: stripped of all other attendant trappings, a ballplayer is most essentially a witness to his own obsolescence.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

Good stuff, but Herzog wouldn’t call Kinski a parasite.