“Out of the Game,” by Michael Ceraolo

Here’s another great poem by Michael Ceraolo.  According to the author, this is just one part of what will be a larger collection of work, forthcoming!

*

This is a story of baseball:
most here played,
                           though
not all played in the majors;
others of us were involved in the game
in different peripheral ways
Some of us achieved fame
Some achieved shame
Some were between the two extremes
Few of us are remembered nowadays
Some of us stayed in the game in other ways
after our playing days were over,
                                                 and
all of us are out of the game now,
permanently,
                    yet here
we are able to have one more say

Marcie, Peppermint Patty, and baseball caps

In addition to the “Charlie Brown’s All Stars!” episode featured on the DVD, the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Charlie Brown’s All Stars! also includes an “episode” consisting of a string of short clips.  Entitled “A Charlie Brown Celebration,” many of these clips revolve around the kids’ school experiences, and some around events outside of school.  One of these clips was about Peppermint Patty and Marcie having their own baseball-related adventure.

When Peppermint Patty’s team plays Charlie Brown’s team one day, Marcie notes that everyone on Charlie Brown’s team wears a baseball cap.  So why, she asks Peppermint Patty, does their own team not wear baseball caps?

Peppermint Patty is untroubled by the lack of baseball caps for her team, but Marcie decides to take it upon herself to come up with the perfect cap for their team to wear.  While Peppermint Patty insists that winning is better than having caps, Marcie finds or creates a variety of different caps to present as possible team caps, ranging from the impractical to the downright ridiculous.

Finally, Peppermint Patty gives in, and the two see an advertisement for kids to receive a free ball cap when attending the local professional team’s next game.  Peppermint Patty comes up with a scheme to enter the ballpark to receive a free cap, then sneak out by climbing a wall so that she can re-enter to receive another.  The plan was to repeat this until they had accumulated nine baseball caps.

However, in a fit of conscience, Marcie decides that having team caps is not worth doing something unethical.  She leaves the stadium just as Peppermint Patty is climbing the wall out of the ballpark.  With no one to catch her coming down from the wall, Peppermint Patty lands on her head, and she declares that she is glad Marcie had changed her mind because repeating this process nine times likely would have killed her.


Charlie Brown’s All Stars!

Charlie Brown's All Stars

In my usual library browsings, I came across the DVD for Charlie Brown’s All Stars!  Given the number of Peanuts strips that revolve around baseball, of course I had to give it a watch.

The episode, which first aired in 1966, features Charlie Brown himself and revolves around his struggle to hold together a team that has lost faith in him.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Charlie Brown, as his own team rails on him throughout the episode, calling him a blockhead and constantly blaming him for their string of losses (never mind that they all stand around and stare while Charlie Brown himself chases down every fly ball).

Things come to a head when everyone on the team quits, and Charlie Brown is left without baseball.  He desperately begs his teammates to reconsider, but they continually turn him down until Linus tells him that Mr. Hennessy, the owner of the hardware store, is interested in sponsoring Charlie Brown’s team.  The sponsorship would include uniforms and the team would become part of an actual league.  With the promise of real baseball uniforms, the team agrees to return to playing.

Later, however, Mr. Hennessy calls Charlie Brown and informs hims that while he will be able to provide uniforms for the boys on the team, the league does not allow girls or dogs.  Therefore, Charlie Brown would have to let go of the girls on the team (including Lucy, Violet, Patty, and Frieda) and his dog (Snoopy).

This, of course, is a major blow to Charlie Brown.  However, with a game coming up, he decides not to tell the team about the uniforms, hoping that the promise of them will encourage them to play a great game and maybe even win.  If they win, the team might be so happy about the victory that they would forget about the uniforms.

The team does put on a great show in the game, playing perhaps the best they’d ever played.  However, they lose in the end when Charlie Brown’s attempt to steal home and tie the game in the last inning fails.  With the sting of such a close loss, Lucy and others tell Charlie Brown that if it were not for the uniforms and the league, they would quit. Charlie Brown then tells the team that he told Mr. Hennessy that the deal was off, but does not go into the details of why.  This causes the team to grown angry and storm off.

Linus ends up being the one to reveal to the girls and to Snoopy why the deal had been called off.  He points out that Charlie Brown was not willing to sacrifice his friends just to get uniforms, causing the girls and Snoopy to feel bad for how they had treated him.  In order to make up for this, they decide to make Charlie Brown a special manager’s uniform, but they decide to use Linus’s security blanket to do so.

The girls and Snoopy present the newly-made uniform to Charlie Brown, who, of course, is pleased with it.  He is determined that his team will win the next day, but the next day, it rains, so nobody else shows up to play ball. Charlie Brown stands alone in the rain on the pitcher’s mound, where Linus finds him and tells him that nobody will come to the field.  He then tells Charlie Brown that his uniform was made from his blanket.  Charlie Brown lets Linus hold the shirt-tail against his cheek and suck his thumb.

I loved this episode because it was Charlie Brown and his crew, and of course because it revolved around baseball.  However, I hated how Charlie Brown got treated from start to finish of the whole episode.  Yes, this treatment does seem to be par for the course for Charlie Brown, but really, can’t the guy get a break?


“Baseball (day/night doubleheader),” by Bruce Harris

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.

*

first game

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.

night cap

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.


“Hardball,” Lil Bow Wow/Lil’ Wayne/Lil’ Zane/Sammie

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.


“Baseball Blues,” Claire Hamill

No baseball shoes?  You’re not alone.  As this song demonstrates, a lack of baseball shoes can be almost traumatic for some folks.


Incompetent

This poor guy.  It almost hurts to read this.

Incompetent Floyd comics

Allan Tracy, Floydcomics.com