Browse all poems and songs in the 'History' Category


American League West 2015 Spring Training Haiku

By Stuart Shea

Astros
Unpronounceable,
The Opening Day starter—
It’s Dallas Keuchel!

Angels
The favorite son—
Prodigal again errant—
Setting in the West

Athletics
Old southpaws don’t die
Until they’ve had a chance to
Make the A’s roster

Mariners
A strong-armed fellow
Will bear the expectations
Of the great northwest

Rangers
A once-proud franchise
Sliding down the Banister,
Into pool or pile?

 

 



American League Central 2015 Spring Training Haiku

By Stuart Shea

White Sox
Eaton, a Danish,
And fans hungry for more than
Just a few churros

Indians
Can we just bury
That nickname somewhere out by
Bad Knee ligament?

Tigers
‘15 may see a
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright—
If Verlander’s back

Royals
Sudden royalty
Must beware of slipping back
Toward the commoners

Twins
Hometown hero Paul
Will learn that spring is full of hope
And buds that don’t bloom

 



Came to America

by Jeff Aeder

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh . . . people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”- Field of Dreams

Before they came to Wrigley or Comiskey or Ebbetts or the Baker Bowl or some anonymous field in Iowa, they came to America.

Ike Samuls came from Galicia and hit .230.

Lefty Cristall, Izzy Goldstein, and Reuben Cohen all came from Odessa.  Cohen changed his name to Ewing and played short.

They came to America to be free.  And to be Americans.  And to learn how to hit a curveball.  And to endure nine hour train rides and to wear wool flannel in 90 degree heat and to play for peanuts.

And America let them.

Let them fail, let them sit, let them languish in the minors but also let them achieve greatness.

America let others mutter under their breath, to laugh at their names, to let every error indict an entire people.

But when a Florida hotel owner wouldn’t let NY Giants Weintraub and Danning stay at his hotel, America also let manager Bill Terry stand up and say if they can’t stay then the team won’t stay.

A tall, gangly kid from New York became known as “The Hebrew Hammer.” Hank Greenberg had the swing to chase the Babe, coming only 2 homers short of the magic 60.  However, Greenberg’s power transcended the diamond. At a time in the 30s when Jews faced supreme challenges here and abroad, the Star of David’s first baseball superstar filled our cups with a huge source of pride.

Several decades later, G-D decided to create the perfect pitcher. The end result, Sandy Koufax, had such a rhythm and grace it was like watching ballet being performed on the mound. Yet he was more nightmare than art to hitters who didn’t have a chance against his fastball and devastating curve.

How about the other all-stars . . . Danning, Gordon, Rosen, Hotlzman, Stone, Green, Ausmus, Youklis, Kinsler, yes and even Braun.

This is all great but what makes our history special is . . . the character of the players . . . it was Jackie Robinson who said of Hank Greenberg after a run in on 1st base: “Mr. Greenberg is class. It stands out all over him.”  It was Greenberg again along with Koufax, Green, Shamsky, Holtzman, Danning, Weintraub, Arnovich and Youklis who honored their heritage and did not play on Yom Kippur.

There were Jews wearing suits, not uniforms, who also had an immense influence on the game. Marvin Miller acted like Moses to the players, telling them they had a right to be free . . . free agents, that is. Bud Selig had his critics to be sure, but as the long-time commissioner, his many progressive decisions had baseball charging into the 21st Century. If the Cubs ever win that elusive World Series from the wildcard route, the Wrigley faithful will be shouting out, “This Bud’s for you.”

Since Jews like to laugh at themselves, we chuckled when the stewardess in “Airplane” said to a passenger, “Are you looking for some light reading?” and promptly handed her a leaflet entitled “Famous Jewish Sports Legends”.  Yet the reality is the Jewish impact on the game could fill volumes.

The story is far from finished. At the relative dawn of a new century, surely, there will be another Koufax, another Greenberg to carry on the proud heritage of Jews in baseball.

 



42

by Stephen Jones

There’ve been discussions all this week.
Surprise! The owners want to tweak.
The object of their discussion?
The American League custom—
The DH, aged  forty-two.
Now they want to make it true—
Thinking, of course, of revenue—
In the National League purview.

Clearly, envy of the NFL—
Where points and cash are scored pell-mell—
Is coloring this discussion.
Hopefully, this “alteration”
Of baseball’s unique separation
Will merit no consideration.

 



Baseball Quickened?

by Philip Pecorino

Baseball’s “Pace of Game” committee
wants to make it more speedy.
But, in an effort to quicken the paces
what may be lost of the game’s subtle graces?

Baseball was once the game
that made the claim
it had no clock.
But, now it seems
there are several schemes
to attend to the tick-tock.

To appease the fans,
mostly not in the stands,
with ever shorter attention spans
there are several initiatives
by baseball executives
to pick up the pace:
one by keeping batters in their place
another still to consider
would discourage pitchers who dither.

Where will it end
to get fans to attend?
Perhaps, better baseball education
leads to better attention.

 

Philip Pecorino is a Professor of Philosophy in CUNY and SUNY systems and has published several articles in philosophical publications, humanities publications and elsewhere. He is into baseball in a metaphysical way with poems on baseball ontology.

 

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