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  #11  
Unread 08-28-2021, 01:08 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cantor View Post
All this ended, unfortunately, in October, 1984, when the world turned upside down.
Ahem, I think you mean 2004, when, you know, the Red Sox came back from a 3-game playoff deficit against the Yankees and went on to win it all. Oh that was cathartic for us long-suffering Sox fans.

When it comes to poetry and baseball pitchers, Jim, another game and pitcher comes to mind for me: Pedro Martinez striking out 17 Yankees in September 1999. I watched that game in a bar in Boston, and it was pure poetry.
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  #12  
Unread 08-28-2021, 01:48 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Oh God, yes - 2004! I guess I was subconciously trying to forget it all.

Echoing others, can we move this to Drills and Amusements?
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  #13  
Unread 08-28-2021, 02:18 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Oh, man, Michael. That may be the best poem on the subject of baseball I've ever read. I'm a transplant to Boston, like you, (I grew up in central Jersey in a house divided between the Philadelphia Phillies and the NY Yankees) so I will never be the true authentic Red Sox fan like the ones that pelted you with cans and tomatoes (were the tomatoes in the cans? Ouch! That hurts!) It's not baseball; it's the poetry of baseball that steals me every time. Your poem does that.

Andrew: Ahem, I think you mean 2004, when, you know, the Red Sox came back from a 3-game playoff deficit against the Yankees and went on to win it all. Oh that was cathartic for us long-suffering Sox fans.

That 2004 series comeback against the Bronx Bombers for the 2004 AL championship was so electrifyingly cathartic that the ensuing World Series was almost like being in a state of shock as we watched the Sox make quick work of I-forget-who and win the World Series, breaking forever the curse of the Bambino. Our hearts were broken countless times during that fateful championship series, and each time divine intervention was there to resuscitate the Red Sox and push them back to play another game.

I remember at one point in the 1990's being so distraught by the Red Sox's failure to win the World Series that I wrote a letter to John Henry, team owner, begging him to build a new stadium on the waterfront. My theory, along with many others, was that Fenway Park was haunted and needed to be burned to the ground.

But, as Ann says, we're playing a game of pick-up on private property and we've got to go now. I'll ask to have this moved to D&A as Ralph suggests. That way we can have our pick-up game all day until dark and no one will chase us home.

I have this ballad I wrote about the summer my son played travel baseball...



----------

Cross-posted with Michael — Yes, I'll ask to have it moved. But if you start in with any Yankee-Panky be prepared for more tomatoes. Ha!

.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 08-28-2021 at 02:20 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 08-28-2021, 04:40 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Here you go, guys... Moved to D & A.

Enjoy your games!

Jayne

Last edited by Jayne Osborn; 11-16-2021 at 04:26 AM.
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  #15  
Unread 08-28-2021, 05:14 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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I've seen both of those Robert Francis poems. I have a little book I found a couple of years ago in a little sidewalk book exchange box. It's called Sports Poems. Here's one from the book:

Tao in the Yankee Stadium Bleachers
BY JOHN UPDIKE

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...dium-bleachers
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  #16  
Unread 08-28-2021, 11:03 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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This is the first poem I ever had accepted for publication - 2003 - and it's also possibly the least deserving (a lot of competition there), and one of the longest. But it appeared in a baseball magazine - the long defunct Elysian Fields - and the editors were baseball guys, not poetry guys. As evidence, look at how it was presented - they screwed up every line break.

The form is an octina, which is a creature I sort of invented. Think of a sestina on steroids.


An Octina for Wally Pipp

This starts with New York Yankee Wally Pipp,
who loved each moment of each baseball game –
the grass and sweat, tobacco juice, the pitch,
the spirits that meant Wally came to play
wherever fist hit glove and ball met bat.
Broad-shouldered, tall, his voice a manly bass,
he wooed true fans from Beantown to St. Lou’,
and thrilled to hear the crowd’s ecstatic bawl

exploding as the umpire called, “PLAY BALL!”
But then a migraine’s grip felled Wally Pipp.
The coach just said, No need for you to stew.
That big young college kid can start a game
or two. We’ll test the rookie at first base;
see how he does against a big league pitch.
The fact is that he ain’t no acrobat,
and talks just like he’s in some Broadway play –

maybe not the guy you want to play
when the pennant hangs on every ball
but, hey, they say he swings a nasty bat.

The kid dug in—he outweighed Wally Pipp –
bestrode the plate, admired a chest-high pitch,
then rocked his hips, uncocked thick wrists – HALLOO! –
a rocket ship roared wide of second base,
and skied to play a slap-bang crashing game

of tag with empty bleacher seats. The game
became the kid’s – he handled every play
at first as if he’d always owned the base,
each swing just tore the cover off the ball,
and fans began to scream his name, Big Lou!!
He had the legs, ran bases like a big-assed bat
from second basemen’s hell, crushed every pitch—
a horsehide whip, a battleship, a pip!

And that was all she wrote for Wally Pipp,
who didn’t start another Yankee game.
He shared the bench with washed-up vets whose pitch
to him each day—that kid needs dirty play;
piss in his shoes and hat, chop up his bat
for firewood—
was the bitter rant of base
old men who’d plot a rookie’s Waterloo:
we’ll take him out and get him drunk and ball

some five buck whore—for five bucks more she’ll bawl
to all that it was rape
—but Wally Pipp
already knew that greatness lived in Lou,
and wouldn’t play that sick old-timer’s game.
He praised the man who took away his base
and led the cheers for him to slug each pitch;
while tycoons, heartless as a cork-plugged bat,
had Wally quickly sold away, to play

for Cinci’ – small-town Cinci’ – where the play-
by-play announcers peddle hay, and ball-
field summer heat can scorch a wooden bat,
and that became the end of Wally Pipp.
He left to run a bar and grill; would pitch
in nights, and lift a few and talk of Lou –
how sure it was that he would make the Base-
ball Hall of Fame, an All-Star of the game,

the Iron Horse, who never missed a game
in fourteen years. But rotten calls can play
with life, and Wally found he was off base.
He’d thought for sure that they would name a ball
park after Lou, not a disease – but Lou
fell ill. God’s scorecard marked his last at bat.
When millions mourned him on the final pitch,
the saddest man of all was Wally Pipp.

At every New York game the ghost of Lou
is said to grab a bat and try to play;
smash back a pitch, bring home the men on base,
for baseball fellowship – and Wally Pipp.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 08-28-2021 at 11:32 PM.
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  #17  
Unread 08-29-2021, 08:35 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Amazing, Mike, or awesome. I can’t make up my mind. Astonishing might do. Ineffable. The Toast of Home Plate, surely. You know I’m a tiddlywinks man, myself, or volleyball. Volleyball. I must write another poem about volleyball. Is there a volleyball fan in the house? Anyway, it’s great to see you posting. So much baby talk on the boards these days. Best to you, Mr Calabash, whatever you do.

Allen, with those two Ls and the E.
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  #18  
Unread 08-29-2021, 09:21 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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This is not a poem but a song, and it is not about an inning but about the end of an innings, but I think it is exquisite. (And you should hear it sung, by Roy Harper.)

For those who do not know cricket, I would say that it is the perfect cricketer's obituary.

When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease

When the day is done, and the ball has spun, in the umpire's pocket away
And all remains, in the groundsman's pains for the rest of time and a day
There'll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for four with the spin
On a dusty pitch, with two pounds six of willow wood in the sun

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff, and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me, and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
Sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well this way of life's recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be me and it could be thee.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy-WU7RPxEw

Last edited by David Callin; 08-29-2021 at 09:26 AM.
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  #19  
Unread 08-29-2021, 10:35 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Michael, that is a really splendid poem. You made me love baseball a little.

Cheers,
John
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  #20  
Unread 08-29-2021, 12:23 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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I played as little baseball as possible, a victim of grounders whacking me in the chin or Roman noseócould never get the timing right. Here are a few games I played well and without injury. But wondered why I did it.

Ballers

O A Small Ball

Why do people chase a ball
and whack it with repeated blows?
ItĎs a dimpled sphere thatís small,
so why do people chase a ball
that slices, hooks, falls to a crawl
toward empty holes where nothing grows?
Why do people chase a ball
and whack it with repeated blows?

OO A Hard Ball

Why roll a polyester ball
thatís aimed to clobber upright pins?
Itís hard and meant to make them fall.
Why roll a polyester ball,
scattering pins, or none at alló
bowled off a lane, the gutter wins.
Why roll a polyester ball
thatís aimed to clobber upright pins?

OOO A Bounced Ball

Why beat a ball on hardwood floors
in drives against defensive players,
a sphere that rouses grandstand roars?
Why pound a ball? On hardwood floors
when dribbled, passed, and shot it soars,
slam dunked through netted hoops by ballers.
Why beat a ball on hardwood floors
in drives against defensive players?

OOOO Why Are There Ballers?

Weíre avatars of Sisyphus?
Major Mars still marches us?
__________________
Ralph
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