This poem is short and sweet, and it’s one that so many folks can identify with. We can’t all be great ballplayers, but one doesn’t have to be able to hit a fast ball to be in love with the game. I came across this one in Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.
I didn’t even make
the seventh grade
girls’ third team
Last Easter, scrub game
with the kids,
a foul right through
Captain Kelly’s French doors,
had to pay.
Still, these sultry
the dark ballet
of players sliding
and shout “Safe!
He’s safe! He’s home!”
and so am I.
Here’s a piece by Michael Ceraolo based on the Jun 24, 1946 crash involving a bus carrying the Spokane Indians of Minor League Baseball. The bus crashed on Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State in what is considered one of the worst accidents in the history of American professional sports. Nine players were killed in the accident, and six were injured. Eight of those who died had served in World War II.
Since I was the player-manager
(though only 25),
I will take the responsibility to speak for the rest
Frederick “Marty” Martinez
and me, Mel Cole,
were members of the Spokane Indians team
On June 24, 1946,
enroute to Bremerton for the next day’s game,
our bus swerved to avoid an oncoming car,
falling three hundred feet down and bursting into flames
Marty, George Risk, the three Bobs, and I
were dead at the scene
Vic died on the way to the hospital,
George Lyden died the next day,
and Chris died two days later
Vic, not yet 19, was the best prospect among us;
the rest of us were older and had served during the war,
probably ending any major-league dreams for us
The driver of the oncoming car was never found
The author of this piece states that he wrote the poem when he was in third grade. I have to say, he was much more talented as a third grader than I was — and a better ballplayer, based on the events he describes in this tale.
Spring is the time that baseball starts,
It is in our minds, it is in our hearts,
The score is tied, 3 to 3,
It is the bottom of the 9th,
And it is up to me,
The coach gives the signal,
It is ok to swing,
I swing the bat and I hear a bing,
Oh gee, Oh no, it is a pop fly,
Way up in the sky,
I feel sick like I am going to die,
As I round second and almost to third,
The center fielder drops it because he is a nerd,
I slide home, look up,
“Safe” I hear the umpire say,
The Tigers have won the game today,
After the game the guys lift me up on their shoulders but I won’t fall,
Because today I feel 10 feet tall!
This poem feels very appropriate right about now, with Christmas less than two weeks away and snow in the forecast across the country this weekend. The video below appears to have been a project someone created for school, but it’s fun to listen to the piece, in addition to reading it.
When someone asks you your favorite sport
And you answer Baseball in a blink
There are certain qualities you must possess
And you’re more attached than you think.
In the frozen grip of winter
I’m sure you’ll agree with me
Not a day goes by without someone
Talking baseball to some degree.
The calendar flips on New Year’s Day
The Super Bowl comes and it goes
Get the other sports out of the way
The green grass and the fever grows.
It’s time to pack a bag and take a trip
To Arizona or the Sunshine State
Perhaps you can’t go, but there’s the radio
So you listen-you root-you wait.
They start the campaign, pomp and pageantry reign
You claim the pennant on Opening Day
From April till fall
You follow the bouncing white ball
Your team is set to go all the way.
They fall short of the series
You have a case of the “wearies”
And need as break from the game
But when Christmas bells jingle
You feel that old tingle
And you’re ready for more of the same.
It will be hot dogs for dinner
Six months of heaven, a winner
Yes, Baseball has always been it.
You would amaze all your friends
If they knew to what ends
You’d go for a little old hit.
The best times you’re had
Have been with your Mom and your Dad
And a bat and a ball and a glove.
From the first time you played
Till the last time you prayed
It’s been a simple matter of love.
I came across this piece last night, and I love the sensory details it provides, even in such a concise poem. The author is right — sometimes all it takes are a few words to have an impact.
the non aficionado
when you say
such trite things as
step up to the plate
knock it out of the park
they can still feel
the solid oak of the bat
smell the oiled
leather of the glove
and hear the crack
as the ball soars
higher into the sky
past the cheap seats
and I wonder
how could I
and turns of phrases
sweet and bardic
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!
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.