“A Fisherman’s Tale,” Anonymous

This piece was published in 1942 and it references Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. In the novella, the main character, Santiago, idolizes DiMaggio and is a big Yankees fan. To Santiago, DiMaggio represents an ideal, and he compares himself against the ballplayer as a way to measure his own success and worth.

*

Ernest
Hemingway
Immortalized
Joe
DiMaggio
and
Joe
DiMaggio
Immortalized
Himself
And
So
Did
Ted Williams
that wonderful slugger from Boston.


“Casey Bats Again,” by Disney

In 1946, Disney released an animated adaptation of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem, “Casey At the Bat.” The short film proved so popular that in 1954, Disney made a sequel, Casey Bats Again, in which Casey’s nine daughters redeem his reputation.

I’m so glad we now live in a world where girls playing baseball is becoming more widely accepted and appreciated.


“Back at the Ball Game”

I like the imagery in this piece, and the wonder of a child watching a baseball game is always enjoyable to think about. I’m not sure of the author’s actual name, as the poem is posted only with the username, Obthompson. You can find the original post here.

*

The scoreboard reads:

Bottom nine.
2 out;
3 on.

“Batter up!” comes the shout,

Way back in the stands sits a child effervescent with joy;
His father beside him speaks to him softly;
Close your eyes and think,
That could be me.

The roar of the throbbing crowd longing for victory,
Seats teeming with fans
some sad with worry, some happy with glee.

The scuffing of shoes,
The clearing of throats,
The build up to when pandemonium ensues.

That old smell of peanuts,
The roll of the organ,
The batter steps up to take his cuts.

He steps up to the plate,
Breathes; and takes it all in
He closes his eyes and thinks to himself;
Why me and not him?


“Tiant’s Apprentice,” by Denise Newbolt

I enjoy the imagery presented in this piece. The metaphor comparing a pitcher to a dancer can be a good one, especially with some pitchers, like Luis Tiant, who have some rather elaborate windups.

*

Clear August sunlight spotlighted the dancer
he twirled in the style of Tiant           
technical in spin, placed practiced choreography. 

A white ball, laced red with a season’s skill and hope,
hurled to the stanched batter,
who would nick it to the dirt

In his 7th inning finale
a foul, a strike released in a summer’s era,
the spiraling pitcher spun to a season’s final ovation,
in late afternoon shadows.


“Crossing Enemy Lines,” by Kristin Bush

Working in education myself, I find I can identify with a lot in this poem. But whether it is school or business or any other kind of official type of environment, most folks we interact with have different personas in other surroundings.

*

I had planned this evening for weeks.
A beautiful May night at the ballpark with friends.
But now, due to circumstances beyond my control
Because I live in a community where everyone is related to everyone else,
Two of my tickets were given to

My student.

And not just any student–
The one who caws like a crow out my window daily–
The one who groans in exasperation whenever he’s asked to do
Anything beyond breathing–
The one who raises his hand to respond to every question but whose answers
Come from his bottomless pit of irrelevant responses–
The bane of my existence: the sophomore boy.
Sworn enemies.

Seven rows up on the right field line
His dad between us as a buffer zone,
We sat in seats so close you could see
the scuffs on Cliff Floyd’s cleats.
“Prime foul ball territory,” I said to him.
He just nodded as we rose for the national anthem.
By the first inning, we were
Awkward adversaries on neutral ground.

We groaned as Uggla and Cabrera launched white missiles into the stands–
Our team in the hole right off the bat.
We found ourselves heckling the other bullpen–together.
By the fifth inning, we were
wary allies.

We buried our faces at a 3 K performance by Soriano–
(Shouldn’t he be good on his own bobblehead night?)
The game was a rout,
So we leaned forward eagerly and swapped autograph war stories,
Laughing and joking around his dad.

Politely and unprompted, he looked me in the eye and said,
“Thank you for the tickets.”
By the ninth inning, I could see David as
A civil human being.

Later I heard he said, “She’s pretty cool, when she’s not in class.”

I agreed.


“New York Divorce,” by Robert L. Harrison

This piece, published in 1999, is short and leaves a lot open to interpretation. It does leave me wondering if the baseball division was a contributing factor to the division in the relationship.

*

Relaxing with his son
watching the Mets,
sharing the good times
together.
The court gave him
the best home dates
to root for their team

Relaxing with her son
watching the Yankees,
sharing the good times
together.
The court gave her
the best home dates
to root for their team

as a family.


“Bleacher Rat,” by Joyce Kessel

This piece by Joyce Kessel was published in 2011 in Spitball Magazine. There’s a strong sense of nostalgia, especially in the language about attending minor league games.

*

I grew up a National League fan
of the Pirates, Cards, Reds & Giants,
not even knowing many decades before
my Buffalo Bisons played in the Senior League
well before becoming a minor league stalwart.
So I’d pray for sunny skies over Forbes Field
rather than Cleveland’s “Mistake by the Lake.”
My rare defection to the American League
came when the Orioles gained Frank Robinson
in that lopsided trade and after,
who couldn’t have appreciated Cal Ripken?

My dad & I would troll the minor leagues
where for some reason affiliations
didn’t seem to matter as much,
at least not to me,
who took in the green expanses
beyond dirt as the glowing diamonds
they were meant to be,
even in parks that were bare shadows
to Little League fields today.

In bandbox fields
and open air bleachers
we’d watch players with numbers,
but no names on their uniforms,
trading cards in their future or past
or not at all, their talents raw and wild.

I learned a geography of Rustbelt cities:
Toledo Mudhens, Columbus Clippers,
Rochester Redwings, Syracuse Chiefs,
Geneva Cubs, Oneonta Yankees,
Niagara Falls Rainbows,
a day’s ride away,
hoping they’d play two,
and mastering the geometry
& hieroglyphs of scorecards.


“The Great Mississippi,” by Jordan A. Deutsch

This poem by Jordan Deutsch was published in 1932, and you can see the history all over this piece. I really love the imagery of the sunrise, and the phonetic spelling out of the conductor’s pronunciations (“… Shecargo and Saint Louieeeeee”) just put a voice in my head yelling these cities out.

*

Up from the grasslands,
The plains, the cities,
Up from the vastness of the land itself:
Up Up Up
To the Great Mississippi.

Up to that First Field bathed in the sun,
Basking in the glory of its birth
Immersed in future time.

Further up slides the sun.

Up
To the Red Stockings from Cincinnati,
The original Magnificent Machine,
The dynasty without a future.
Up
To the National Association,
Swaying in its greatness.

Further up slides the sun.

Through the mouth of history slide provocative names
Once breathed on the lips of dreamers.

In what fine grave do the Elizabeth Resolutes
Troy Haymakers,
And Lord Baltimores now rest?

Up moving up
To expanding cities pocketed
In gray concrete.

(Can you hear the shrill and melodic chant of the
Train Conductor calling out his roll?)
:NewYawkHartfordBosstonPhilaDELphia
LouievilleCINCINnatiShecargo and Saint Louieeeeee.

Up up up
Up
To the Great Mississippi.


A baseball haiku by Heather Ober

There doesn’t seem to be a title to this one — it is listed merely as “Haiku 5.” All the same, I found this haiku very relatable, even in its brevity. I’m sure most kids who grow up playing ball have this experience at some point in their lives.

*

an old baseball
soars across blue sky–
broken glass

Image result for baseball broken window


“Baseball And Life,” by Stanley Cooper

This one is short and sweet, playing on the metaphor of baseball and life. There are some pretty intense pressure situations in both worlds, for sure.

*

Baseball ain’t just a game
Ask any fan, it’s a way of life
Life and Baseball, so much the same
Similarly filled with fun and strife

Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two out
Score tied, full count on the batter
He knows, at that moment, with out a doubt
If he fails to hit, nothing in life will matter

To strike out in life, as many do
Brings consequences, not aspired
Just as striking out with count three and two
Is something, clearly, not desired

See the source image