When I was 10, my family moved to California for a year, and I discovered baseball. My Dad bought me two anthologies of baseball writing, which I read to pieces. I still have the books, pages stained with the crumbs of early 1980s food. In one there was a profile of Ted Williams, the famous Boston Red Sox player, written by someone called John Updike. I’d never heard of Updike, but the article stayed with me. It was better than any sports writing I ever encountered growing up in Europe. Good European writers seldom bothered with sport back then.