Here’s a rather unusual and playful piece written by Gershon Wolf earlier this year. It features some interesting plays on words to create a bit of a mind-twisting puzzle.
Backwards forwards upside down
Driving in reverse back through town
Yahoo.com said moo — landed in Honolu
This poem is insane and so are Yu
Darvish and awl of you hoo(!) still think
The Chicago Cubs have a (phat!) chance
To win it all egg-N with that letter
“C” on their pin ~ striped pants
Cuz miracles Kant Happ en more than
Every century oar sew. The Cubs of had theirs
And that’s awl eye no about baseball, faceball, and
Spaceball, if that’s really a game. Well, me mum said it is
And that ends this horr-if(?)-ick
Poe – aim
Four Now Brown Cow
I have known folks who mow their lawn this way. Pine cones? Run ’em over. Thick coatings of leaves? The mower can handle it. Rocks? Who cares if they go flying?
I don’t mow that way 1) because I don’t have the money to buy a new lawn mower every other month, and 2) because I learned in a most unfortunate manner what happens when the mower picks up a stray rock and sends it flying into a window.
Running over a baseball would surely wreak havoc on any mower, no manner how sturdy and well-built it may be. And any mower would wreak just as much havoc on the poor baseball.
each day mowed
and mowed his lawn, his dry quarter acre,
the machine slicing a wisp
from each blade’s tip.
Dust storms rose
around the roar: 6:00 P.
, every day,
spring, summer, fall.
If he could mow
the snow he would.
On one side, his neighbors the cows
turned their backs to him
and did what they do to the grass.
Where he worked, I don’t know
but it sets his jaw to: tight.
His wife a cipher, shoebox tissue,
a shattered apron.
into her head he drove a wedge of shale.
Years later his daughter goes to jail.
Mow, mow, mow his lawn
gently down a decade’s summers.
On his other side lived mine and me,
across a narrow pasture, often fallow;
a field of fly balls, the best part of childhood
and baseball, but one could not cross his line
and if it did,
as one did in 1956
and another in 1958,
it came back coleslaw — his lawn mower
ate it up, happy
to cut something, no matter
what the manual said
about foreign objects,
stones, or sticks.
Technically a couple days late, but I would argue it’s still early enough for this to count. I stumbled across this piece last night. It’s full of baseball metaphors being applied to business. Apparently in 2014, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle shared this poem with Pirates staff on Opening Day that year. That day, the Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings over the Cubs.
Today you’ll dig in the closet for your glove and snap a ball into it while sipping your morning coffee.
Today you’ll drive to work and admonish yourself to “keep your head down” and your eye on the road.
Today your team will be in first and planning to stay there. Today you’ll wonder about developing and selling tobacco-flavored toothpaste, as you spit into the sink.
Today you’ll still be able to turn the double play.
Today you’ll end your contract holdout.
Today you won’t lose a business deal in the sun. Today you’ll find yourself rotating your arm around your head to stretch the shoulder and keep it loose.
Today sunflower seeds strangely find their way into your back pocket.
Today you’ll think of wearing a black suit to match the eye black.
Today you’ll have the steal sign.
Today you slip up in a meeting and mention “our sales team vs. lefties.”
Today as the toast comes out of the toaster, you’ll still remember how to execute a perfect “pop-up” slide.
Today a hot dog and peanuts for lunch will sound about right.
Today you tell a co-worker to “get loose.”
Today the only strike you’ll know about is above the knees and below the armpits.
Today you’ll wear your jacket only on your pitching arm.
Today you’ll buy two packs of gum and stuff them in the side of your mouth to look like a player.
Today, during lunch, you’ll wonder why Coke doesn’t come in a wood can.
Today you’ll scratch yourself and spit for no apparent reason.
Today you’ll wonder why stirrup socks never caught on as a fashion rage.
Today you’ll be the rookie looking to make it big.
Today you’ll be the wily vet with just a little something left.
Today you’ll look for the AM dial on your radio.
Today mom’s watching.
Today dad’s in the backyard with his glove.
Today will be hopeful.
Today it’ll still be a kids’ game.
Today you’ll be a kid.
Today is Opening Day!
MLB Spring Training means that the first day of spring and Opening Day are both just around the corner! Here’s another great piece from Michael Ceraolo, published by Stanzaic Stylings, in anticipation of another season of baseball.
From you I have been absent in the spring,
Til Opening Day, dressed in all its trim,
Hath put the spirit of youth in everything.
But my love for you is hardly a whim:
I have missed the ballpark’s array of smells
And both teams’ uniforms’ array of hues;
I have missed the stories that my love tells,
A dazzling selection from which to choose;
I have missed the wonder of the ball’s white.
I have missed the wonder of the field’s green.
I wonder if the new will be a fright.
I wonder of those who will make the scene.
It seems winter still with the game away,
Until the team comes home ready to play.
When I first started reading this poem by Edgar Guest, the first stanza gave me the impression that this would be about a man who used baseball as an analogy through which to teach his children important lessons about life. Boy, was I wrong. As I read on, I found myself smiling a bit, and even had to chuckle by the end.
The smell of arnica is strong,
And mother’s time is spent
In rubbing father’s arms and back
With burning liniment.
The house is like a druggist’s shop;
Strong odors fill the hall,
And day and night we hear him groan,
Since father played baseball.
He’s forty past, but he declared
That he was young as ever;
And in his youth, he said, he was
A baseball player clever.
So when the business men arranged
A game, they came to call
On dad and asked him if he thought
That he could play baseball.
“I haven’t played in fifteen years,
Said father, “but I know
That I can stop the grounders hot,
And I can make the throw.
I used to play a corking game;
The curves, I know them all;
And you can count on me, you bet,
To join your game of ball.”
On Saturday the game was played,
And all of us were there;
Dad borrowed an old uniform,
That Casey used to wear.
He paid three dollars for a glove,
Wore spikes to save a fall
He had the make-up on all right,
When father played baseball.
At second base they stationed him;
A liner came his way;
Dad tried to stop it with his knee,
And missed a double play.
He threw into the bleachers twice,
He let a pop fly fall;
Oh, we were all ashamed of him,
When father played baseball.
He tried to run, but tripped and fell,
He tried to take a throw;
It put three fingers out of joint,
And father let it go.
He stopped a grounder with his face;
Was spiked, nor was that all;
It looked to us like suicide,
When father played baseball.
At last he limped away, and now
He suffers in disgrace;
His arms are bathed in liniment;
Court plaster hides his face.
He says his back is breaking, and
His legs won’t move at all;
It made a wreck of father when
He tried to play baseball.
The smell of arnica abounds;
He hobbles with a cane;
A row of blisters mar his hands;
He is in constant pain.
But lame and weak as father is,
He swears he’ll lick us all
If we dare even speak about
The day he played baseball.
Here’s a piece by John Lambremont, Sr. published by Spitball Magazine in February 2010. I enjoy pieces like this one where baseball metaphors aren’t necessarily overt, but they’re definitely there.
Age-old Southern faces,
tight-lipped and grim,
in their batting helmets,
their chins tucked in,
raise their steel barrels
and dig in again.
Remnants of their ancestry,
descendants of their kin,
that stared down steel barrels
and charged again,
knowing that their chances
to survive were slim.
The batteries of the enemy
are usually going to win.
This piece was originally published in 1972 in All in Sport, one of many poetry collections written by Richard Armour. This one is a fun little baseball logic puzzle, which I think I’ve been able to work out, though as I read it over again and think about it further, it seems there are multiple answers to this one.
One runner’s safe, one runner’s out,
Or so the ump has beckoned.
The one who’s safe touched second first,
The one who’s out, first second.