Browse all poems and songs in the 'The Game Itself' Category

High Heat

by William Tecku

Takes more than hope
to hit any high hard one
with mustard on it.
Dickinson knew that!
Higginson, the player’s first
and last coach said that.
Still, this Hall of Famer, before
blasting “Hope” into the books,
was un-coachable
in one hitting situation.

From the minors, Dickinson,
always dying to homer
in ninth inning tie games,
swung from the shoelaces
at high hard one after high hard one
that blew out of blue afternoons
. . . bright sunlight bearing down
behind each bullet of bleached white, stretched, balled up cowhide balled up and tossed away hard like a lousy first draft page
. . . small as twilight’s first
or dawn’s last star . . .
singular, nondescript as a dove
with rolling red stitches for wings,
a sphere sprinting in spikes of air,
rotating into wide open eyes,
shouting down a thirsty throat,
or avalanching sideways
on top of the batter,
just a pitch, but, in-
as much a blur as love
or any other heater
only heroes connect with
yet seldom homer.

The fundamental physics
of such thrown objects
make it extremely unlikely
that even the best players
at any level can ever catch up
to these fastballs that pitchers
hurl in some full counts
to sucker batters
into chasing such stuff
blazed shoulder high
or a feather above
the strike zone.

Yeah, when the game is
on the line, and you’re
going for the fences,
hope is hardly enough to swing,
even if you are swinging
Dickinson coffin wood.


William Tecku is a Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry grant recipient, a six-time Arizona English Teachers Association “Teachers As Writers” award winner, a Lake Superior Writers Series award winner, and twice received the Mesa Public Schools Staff Writing Award. It’s Only a Dry Heat is his most recent collection of poetry and fiction. For more of his writing, visit his webpage, Road Reflections.


Fun on the Bus with the Kansas City Monarchs

by James Finn Garner

We rode the bus a lot back then
Murphy was our bus driver
No first name
“Murphy” might’ve been fake too
He was bad business
Gold teeth
Angry eye
A past we never asked about

But reliable
Murphy was reliable
You could always count on him
Hearing one of us on the team shout
(and we did it many times a night)
“Hey Murphy! I think I just saw a police car!”
And hitting the gas
And driving like the devil himself was after him


Miller and Tex

by Hart Seely

With apologies to Robert Frost

Some say the team will end with Miller,
Some say with Tex.
From what I’ve seen of bullpen filler,
I’d much prefer a quicker killer.
But if we’re bound to perish next,
I think I know enough of fate
To say that for destruction, Tex
Is not as great
As oral sex.


At Bat in Antiquity

by Stephen Jones

Archimedes, genius of Syracuse
In the old Punic Wars, made no excuse
When it came to science and invention.

He’d move the Earth, was his assertion,
With a lever of his own construction.
Quite a feat . . . and all that exertion.

In discovery, Archimedes stands tall,
But what’s not known: He never did solve
The problem of round bat hitting round ball.


Reversion, or Retro Rule #4

by Michael Ceraolo

The fourth retro rule came and went,
.                according
to whether or not the Lords felt
that offense was getting out of hand,
.                                                       and
that was the legalization of doctored pitches
When such a change was deemed necessary
each team was permitted one such pitcher,
and that pitcher had to be so designated
before the start of the season,
.                                          which
was the only time such designation
could be changed
.                             (such designees
were always grandfathered until retirement
when the pitches again became illegal)

Defacing the ball with
nail files
emery boards
.              or
any of the myriad other implements
that had ever been used
was not permitted,
.                            and
attempts to get around the rule
by having the catcher or another player
‘accidentally’ doctor the ball
disappeared with the advent
of the intention-reading umpire

With increased awareness of disease transmission
the use of spit or any other
human or animal bodily fluid
was strictly verboten;
the penalty for any such use
was immediate lifetime banishment
if the fluid was carrying disease,
a two-year banishment if it wasn’t

.                                                           And
there was no need for taking such risks;
increasing chemical knowledge
and the development of new chemicals
had made such methods obsolete,
.                                                with
the only rules being the chemicals
could not be hazardous
nor could they discolor the ball
.                                               And
while they never quite fulfilled the fantasy
of It Happens Every Spring
they always
effectively redressed
the perceived imbalance until the time
they were again made illegal


Michael Ceraolo, a retired firefighter/paramedic, follows sports and writes poetry, mainly about the Cleveland area. This poem first appeared in Ygdrasil, Vol. XXIII, Issue 8, Number 268.

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