by Gene Fendt
“At 8-1, the Cubs are off to their best start since 1969”
–news story, April 15, 2016
They’re hanging the bunting at Wrigley
. a hundred years after the Babe;
so many have waited so long for this day
. it’s hard to believe what we see.
My childhood knows Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Banks,
. the trade of Lou Brock, the umpire’s mistake,
facing Giants and Pirates and Hammering Hank,
. the line-up of Bench, Morgan, Rose and Perez,
the grace of Clemente before he was dead,
. the stare-down of Gibson, Bob Veale and Koufax’s crank:
Lou Boudreau on radio made it appear
. as Athena to Hector, when Achilles was near.
The world is unworthy of childhood faith,
. the utter incorrigible truth of its love,
its weeping for heroes defeated by fate,
. its Aprils and Augusts, stolen bases, gold gloves.
All that is over. It’s daytime, there’s ivy,
. it’s got God’s own green grass,
the bunting is hanging, and so soon you’ll see
. God himself in his garden, all home at last.
Gene Fendt has taught philosophy for 29 years at the University of Nebraska, but grew up in Wisconsin listening to WGN, “radio home of millions throughout mid America.” His poetry most recently has captured the Princemere Poetry Prize (2015) and won the Gemini Magazine national poetry competition.
by the Village Elliott
For Joe Garagiola (1926-2016)
In today’s paper, oh boy, I read
News that hit me right upside my head.
This one really got me,
That you don’t get no older than Dead.
When the Great Scorekeeper called Joe’s “Last Out”,
I thought Joe was no longer about.
Immigrant’s son made team:
“The American Dream”
His life fully lived, I’ve no doubt.
Yogi’s Dago Hill childhood friend, Joe,
First of three lost this week’s TV show:
Garry Shandling passed on–
Like Larry Sanders, gone–
Now lost light’s dimmed the White Shadow.
by Millie Bovich
If you walk around the ballfield in the darkness of the night
If you let your mind just wander, love of baseball comes to light.
For the ballpark is enchanted and its magic doesn’t cease
Sights and smells and sounds surround it, though it seems at last at peace.
Love of baseball never leaves you, always there at your behest
And the players ever loyal, always there to do their best.
On the wall, the tigers crouching, prowling in protective guard
Watching well for no intrusion of their namesake’s sacred yard.
No flags waving to remind us of the teams that come to play
No lights shining, chasing darkness, making night as bright as day.
You’ll hear cheers and jeers diminished of the season’s games well played
Gone forever, not forgotten, though particulars may fade.
And the dust of sliding runners, safe despite the sizzled throw
In the air it seems to linger as the seasons come and go.
Yes, the losing is quite painful, and the “W” like gold
A no-hit game so special and a happy story told.
Smells of vendors’ foods have lingered as the wafting breeze will show
Stimulating well your senses, scents you miss and love and know.
And the scoreboard shows no numbers, no statistics grace its face
Stats invisible and hidden till next season’s welcome race.
In your eyes the park is empty all the seats in silence wait
For the fans again rejoicing, for the opening of the gate!
Millie Bovich may be the oldest fan and regular contributor to Bardball. “I had the pleasure of meeting All-Star Johnny Pesky when he visited the Detroit office of the FBI where I worked,” she writes, “and met and married a special agent from New York and made a Tigers fan out of him!”
by R.J. Lesch
The books must balance, so accountants say.
For every credit on the books, we must
Record a debit. Bills come in; we pay
Them off and write it down. In baseball, just
The same is true. A hit is chalked up to
The hitter and the pitcher both. A game
Won by my team must be a loss for you.
If we give credit, so we must give blame.
For every Thomson, Branca there must be.
For Mazeroski, Terry. Wilson, Buck.
Gordon and Familia, recently.
Then Hosmer, Duda. Perez, Matz. Tough luck.
The calculus of baseball can be cold,
But books must balance, once the tale is told.
by the Village Elliott
“What good is good pitching
If defense is porous?”
Reprise of the bitching
Amazin’ Mets Chorus.
Mets team defense a drag?
Another costly error?
Down-daubered Roger Craig
Lost 20 both years there.
This Series played a fright
No way the Mets survive
From Cespedes to Wright,
First inning through Game Five.
I tip my cap to Royals
Returning to the dance
The Instant Karmic spoils
They seized on second chance.
When Cespedes misplays
First ball, first run Mets yield–
Say, hey, ain’t Willie Mays,
Back playing center field.
Mad dash of Escobar
Redeemed slothful Gordon,
When Hosmer ties the score
Could sense the Royals had won.
Last year they lost to Jints
Panik starts a double.
Duda’s wild throw hints
It’s Mets who are in trouble.
The Royals deserve the crown
They won it fair and square,
Reversed their Dauber-down,
To earn the winners’ share.