I enjoy the juxtaposition of old vs. new baseball in this piece. I do think that baseball today has more redeeming qualities that it often gets credit for, but I can also understand the nostalgia for how things used to be.
Complete games were routine for some,
watched by hats and ties through fragrant cigar smoke.
Great Scott – home run derby – M&Ms – Maypo (hold the juice).
Baseball is Topps and a nickel is king.
September’s done. Eight teams dream of afternoon October fun.
Save this. DH that. Pitch count. Everyone looks like a catcher now.
Corporate heads sit and talk while starting pitchers transact business with the bullpen.
Only birds get flipped.
Jokers and wild cards blow on hands. Stars under stars
while witches and ghosts and goblins play.
This is not my usual preferred genre when it comes to music, but I have to admit that this tune is pretty catchy. Baseball is so versatile when it comes to pop culture.
No baseball shoes? You’re not alone. As this song demonstrates, a lack of baseball shoes can be almost traumatic for some folks.
This poor guy. It almost hurts to read this.
I haven’t been able to confirm whether the man who wrote this poem is the same John W. Knight as this guy, but it seems like it might be a strong possibility, no? Regardless, it’s an enjoyable piece.
The game was tied in the bottom of nine
A runner on third and two out
In the dead still air a mosquito’s whine
Was all you could hear, then a shout
“Do something Ben, murder the ball,
For crying out loud get a hit.”
Ben strode to the plate to answer the call
The now restless fans knew this was it
He dug in his right foot then positioned his left
And tapped the plate twice with his bat
Then he pulled it back slowly as to measure its heft
And tensed his whole frame like a cat
The pitcher glared in, the Ump hunkered down
Then the ball on its way like a shot
Ben pulled the trigger, his body unwound
And the ball hit the bat with a “Thock”
This is the sum that the game’s all about
This instant is not just a dream
The split second physics, a hit or an out?
Each player and fan poised to scream
In Elysian Fields, released by Tom Evans this summer, proves itself a fascinating read. The events of this novel take place in the late-1950s, and the feel of the book definitely fits with that time period. Luke Allen is a major league ballplayer in the final season of his career, hoping to have a shot at finally winning a championship before he retires. Luke is having one of the best seasons of his already-Hall of Fame worthy career, due in part to the influence of a series of anonymous notes sent to him from a secret admirer.
The secret admirer, the reader learns, is a poet by the name of Norah Dailey. Norah admires Luke from a distance, and while the two do not physically meet for a very long time, they are nonetheless drawn to one another. The two dance around a desire to meet one another, yet not feeling sure whether they really should.
In the meantime, the reader learns a lot about each character’s background. Each has had a challenging life, in their own way, and each grew up to devote their lives to their respective passions — Luke to baseball and Norah to writing. If you’re the kind of reader who likes to hear about the backstories of a book’s characters (which I am), then you will love the details provided about these two.
As someone who loves baseball and literature, this book proved quite engaging and satiating for both interests. I have long felt that baseball and literature are excellent complements to one another, and the attraction between Luke and Norah serves as a great metaphor for this. Overall, I found the book quite enjoyable. It had hints of The Natural and of Bull Durham in its story line, and yet manages to stand unique, especially in terms of character development. I do wish the story would have continued on a bit longer than it did after Luke and Norah finally do meet, if only to wrap up Luke’s career and establish their relationship a bit more neatly. But again, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I suppose that sometimes, the next chapters of our favorite characters’ lives are best left to the imagination.
Poor Charlie Brown. I think we can all sympathize.