A Ballad of Baseball Burdens

by Franklin Pierce Adams

The burden of hard hitting. Slug away
.    Like Honus Wagner or like Tyrus Cobb.
Else fandom shouteth: “Who said you could play?
.    Back to the jasper league, you minor slob!”
.    Swat, hit, connect, line out, get on the job.
Else you shall feel the brunt of fandom’s ire
.   Biff, bang it, clout it, hit it on the knob—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of good pitching. Curved or straight.
.   Or in or out, or haply up or down,
To puzzle him that standeth by the plate,
.   To lessen, so to speak, his bat-renoun:
.   Like Christy Mathewson or Miner Brown,
So pitch that every man can but admire
.   And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of loud cheering. O the sounds!
.   The tumult and the shouting from the throats
Of forty thousand at the Polo Grounds
.   Sitting, ay, standing sans their hats and coats.
.   A mighty cheer that possibly denotes
That Cub or Pirate fat is in the fire;
.   Or, as H. James would say, We’ve got their goats—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of a pennant. O the hope,
.   The tenuous hope, the hope that’s half a fear,
The lengthy season and the boundless dope,
.   And the bromidic; “Wait until next year.”
.   O dread disgrace of trailing in the rear,
O Piece of Bunting, flying high and higher
.   That next October it shall flutter here:
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

ENVOY

Ah, Fans, let not the Quarry but the Chase
.   Be that to which most fondly we aspire!
For us not Stake, but Game; not Goal, but Race—
.   THIS is the end of every fan’s desire.

 

Franklin Pierce Adams was a columnist and prolific doggerelist, best known for “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon (Tinker to Evers to Chance)”. This poem is from his book In Other Words (1912).

 


Published in Ballparks, Chicago Cubs, Fans, Former Teams, History, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pure doggerel, San Francisco Giants, The Game Itself | Link to this poem | No Comments

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