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Cold Beer, Hot Lights: 2045

That's how I look when I play baseball in my imagination.

The only hit I ever landed in baseball was against a robot. Yes, it was a pitching machine; yes, it gave me the confidence I needed to stride right up to the plate during our next game and swing away; yes, I got beaned in the helmet and walked to first. So it would be safe to say that baseball isn’t my thing. When I overheard someone talking about Arnold Rothstein’s 1919 World Series fix, I figured that was the coolest thing that had ever happened to baseball. If gangsters were more regularly rigging the game, I might consider following it.

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Being Pheidippides

It's a visual metaphor for Greek wrestling.

It’s possible that my fascination with ancient games traces to the fifth grade. We were required to do a project on Dynastic Egypt, and while the other students were thatching Nile boats or mummifying the family cat, I drew up a theoretical set of rules for Senet, a game dating to around 3100 BCE. The rest, as they say (literally in this case), is history.

Ah, to know the true rules to Senet! Or to the other Egyptian board game mystery, the serpentine Mehen! To play the Royal Game with the Kings of Ur, or wager blankets against Montezuma’s riches in Patolli! To march hoplites through the narrow canyons of the Peloponnese in Nika—

Right. That one’s possible.

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