“When My Buckner Moment Comes,” by Dan Bern

This song is amusing in a way that almost hits too close to home.  Even though we know it is okay not to be perfect, we all worry that our own “Buckner moment” will come at the most inopportune and humiliating time.


Wally Pipp’s headache

Here’s a fun little comic by Molly Lawless about that moment when Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak began.  Whatever the story behind Pipp’s sitting out that day, you can’t help but feel for the guy.

wally pipp comic molly lawless


“Carlton Fisk Is My Ideal,” by Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer is an American poet, writer, and visual artist who has written in a wide variety of genres. This poem was first published in The Golden Book Of Words in 1978. The video below is from October 2014, when Mayer visited the Writers House to give a reading with fellow poet Philip Good.

*

He wears a beautiful necklace
next to the beautiful skin of his neck
unlike the Worthington butcher
Bradford T. Fisk (butchers always
have a crush on me), who cannot even order veal
except in whole legs of it.
Oh the legs of a catcher!
Catchers squat in a posture
that is of course inward denying orgasm
but Carlton Fisk, I could
model a whole attitude to spring
on him. And he is a leaper!
Like Walt Frazier or, better,
like the only white leaper,
I forget his name, in the ABA’s
All-Star game half-time slam-dunk contest
this year. I think about Carlton Fisk in his
modest home in New Hampshire
all the time, I love the sound of his name
denying orgasm. Carlton & I
look out the window at spring’s first
northeaster. He carries a big hero
across the porch of his home to me.
(He has no year-round Xmas tree
like Clifford Ray who handles the ball
like a banana). We eat & watch the storm
batter the buds balking on the trees
& cover the green of the grass
that my sister thinks is new grass.
It’s last year’s grass still!
And still there is no spring training
as I write this, March 16, 1976,
the year of the blizzard that sealed our love
up in a great mound of orgasmic earth.
The pitcher’s mound is a lightning mound.
Pudge will see fastballs in the wind,
his mescaline arm extends to the field.
He wears a necklace.
He catches the ball in his teeth!
Balls fall with a neat thunk
in the upholstery of the leather glove he puts on
to caress me, as told to, in the off-season.
All of a sudden he leaps from the couch,
a real ball has come thru the window
& is heading for the penguins on his sweater,
one of whom has lost his balloon
which is floating up into the sky!


“Money,” by Grantland Rice

This poem is short, but I think sports fans can all identify with it.  It’s unfortunate that money has become such a pervasive force in professional sports, but then, I suppose it is the money that makes them professional and not amateur.

*

Money to the left of them and money to the right,
Money everywhere they turn from morning to the night,
Only two things count at all from mountain to the sea,
Part of it’s percentage, and the rest is guarantee.


“Be A Believer in Giant/Dodger/Philly Fever,” The Paid Attendance

I came across these somewhat randomly this weekend: three songs by a group called The Paid Attendance.  So far as I have been able to tell, these are the only three songs by this group, and I have only been able to find audio for two of them.  That being said, I suppose it’s not really a big deal that I cannot find audio for the third, as it would likely just fall in line with the other two songs.  First off, here’s “Be A Believer in Giant Fever,” released in 1978.

The group must have had a thing for New-York-teams-gone-California, because in 1979, they put one out for the Dodgers.

The third song, for which I have not been able to find audio online, appears to be the same song with a Philly twist: “Be A Believer in Philly Fever.”

I am curious as to whether the original intention was to put out a version for each team in the majors.  If so, they didn’t get very far into the process.  Whatever the intention, I did find the Giants and Dodgers versions fun to listen to.  It’s the kind of song that makes you want to do a little jig while you brush your teeth in the morning.


Fungo fail

Anyone else ever find themselves in Calvin’s shoes as a kid?

calvin-and-hobbes-baseball4

Bill Watterson


Origins of the seventh inning stretch

I occasionally go on binges of television shows that I never watched when they were actually airing on television (for one example, see my posts here about various episodes of the Simpsons).  My parents didn’t condone a lot of TV-watching as I grew up, and as an adult, I don’t bother with wasting money on cable or even Netflix.  However, I do have a library card, and many public libraries have vast collections of DVDs, including television series.  This has afforded me the opportunity to do a tiny bit of catching up on some shows.

My current TV show project, The West Wing, has thoroughly captured my interest and attention.  As of this writing, I am about halfway through the third season of the series, and in the first minutes of episode 15, “Hartsfield’s Landing,” C.J. Cregg makes mention during a press briefing of the origins of the seventh inning stretch.  Stretch time, she informs reporters, was founded by President William Howard Taft.  Naturally this caught my attention, so I had to do a little poking around to find out whether this was true.

The West Wing

It seems the actual origins of the seventh inning have faded with time, but the story of President Taft does circulate.  According to the story, during a game he attended on April 4, 1910, the obese Taft stood up during the seventh inning to stretch his legs and find some respite from sitting in the small, wooden chair.  When other fans at the ballgame saw Taft stand, they also stood in a gesture of respect for the commander-in-chief.

taft

Another possibility for the tradition’s origins dates back to 1869.  According to an article in the New York Herald, following a particularly long second inning of a game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Brooklyn Eagles, the entire crowd at the park simply stood up to stretch.  Actual stretch time, of course, then was moved to later in the game.

A third story, this one also dating back to 1869, comes from a letter written by Harry Wright of the Cincinnati Red Stockings.  According to Wright, “The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh inning, extend their legs and arms and sometimes walk about. In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture upon hard benches.”

Today, of course, stretch time comes with singing the chorus of Jack Norworth’s “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” as well as an end to alcohol sales for that game. Whatever the actual origins of the seventh inning stretch, there seems to be no doubt that it was borne out of a need for fans to take a break from the long period of sitting.