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Category: Baseball

POEM: Play Ball

Play Ball

It hasn’t been my favorite day.
So it’s a Red Sox podcast in bed.
My eyes are burning from overuse
& lack of sleep, but for some reason
I’m still awake, fielding a few
nighttime texts & thinking of
the day pitchers & catchers report.
I thought this would be the year
I’d take a break from baseball,
having seen one too many favorites
decamp for greener pastures.
But it hasn’t been my favorite day
& the days ahead are hard to see,
so instead I’ll turn this coal
into a diamond in my mind,
imagining the heroic young men
squinting into the Boston sun.
It’s a math problem, a Bach piece,
a well-loved album playing
softly as I search for sleep.
It hasn’t been my favorite day.
Play ball.

/ / /

10 February 2023
State College PA

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Book Review: Uppity by Bill White

Uppity: My Untold Story About The Games People PlayUppity: My Untold Story About The Games People Play by Bill White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A real page turner that highlights some of the lesser-covered parts of the game of baseball. While the racism that has plagued the game is certainly no secret, White’s first-hand account as a player, broadcaster and president of the National League puts a personal, human face on the changes baseball has made, and the distance it has yet to travel. This book was written by someone who is very confident, and who certainly seems to feel he rarely if ever made a mistake, but at the same time he made it through a four-decade career in a tough business as a black man, so some protective ego isn’t surprising. All in all, well worth reading.

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POEM: playoff poem


playoff poem

one son is snoring
book open beside him

the other sleeps quietly
arms missing the dog

who is also snoring
she’s on a beanbag

out in the living room
where the TV is on

the Red Sox are playing
October baseball

while the last remnants
of an autumn storm

push around the leaves
but can’t get inside

20 October 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: listening for New York

listening for New York

the Mets are playing on the radio
I love the sound of the game
the low murmur of thousands of fans
the measured cadence of the announcers
even the ads make me feel like I could
step out my door and be there again
a thousand quick miles to the north
where the subways run all night

4 April 2013
Auburn AL

/ / /

The photo above was taken at Citi Field in 2011. It’s part of this series.

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POEM: opening day


opening day

stand with your feet touching
inhale as you reach your arms toward the sky
engage your core
say hello to the sun

in front of which a baseball passes
100,000 eyes follow it
from the yellow into the blue
100,000 lungs inhale

he reaches his arm toward the sky
glove held upward
no past, no future
just now after now after now

exhale, hands in prayer position
bend forward
touch your palms to the ground
feel the sure, steady earth

the ball falls into his glove
inhale, place your hands on your shins
100,000 lungs
exhale, lower your body to the ground

he moves into Player Throwing Ball
inhale into Down Dog, exhale
he is one fluid motion, thought-less
inhale, look at your hands

exhale, jump your feet forward
he straightens up, looks in at the next batter
inhale, raise your arms toward the sky
he stands beneath the blue, waiting

1 April 2013
Auburn AL

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BOOK REVIEW: Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball

Donald Hall, one of the country’s great poets, writes with passion about Dock Ellis, one of baseball’s most colorful figures. If all you know about Dock Ellis is that he once pitched a no-hitter on LSD, then you need to read this book and learn the other 90% of his story. And if you, like me, have never heard of Dock Ellis at all, Hall’s engrossing account will acquaint you with a man who deserves wider recognition, as much for his constant support of the black community and his commitment to fighting drug addiction as for his on-field stats. Highly recommended.

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