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As the autumn light cants across the grassy fields of play, a thud echoes through the October air, like the thud of Brady Anderson running pointlessly into the outfield wall: the landing in your lap of the glossy, 320-page Baseball as America: Seeing Ourselves Through Our National Game, produced by National Geographic and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “[A]cross the broad historic sweep of American experience, baseball maintains its hold on our imagination and reality…” the intro intones. Fellas! It’s “National Geographic,” not “National Poeto-Sociological,” dig? But if anyone’s qualified to drop science on the national pastime, it’s Ozzie Smith, who somehow dragged L. Frank Baum and a sawed-open baseball into his Hall of Fame speech this year. Bend an ear to the Wizard while you check the photo of Curt Flood’s 1969 kiss-off letter to the commissioner on Page 214. Now that’s poetry. Smith is in town with the Hall of Fame’s Dale Petroskey to promote the book at 7:30 p.m. at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. $15. (202) 857-7700. (Tom Scocca)