by Philip Pecorino
The base: a place of welcome respite along the glorious route of transit when home is behind you til home once again. With each venture off base there is the aim, goal and plan: the next bag to reach and then beyond until back to where it all began.
Leave and stop off where there is time to rest til you score the object of the quest. Each beckons to you, made of whatever materials offered in the venue.
Sandlots see torn cardboard pieces serving as the diamond’s pointy places. At other times and spaces, bags or pillows will do.
On dirt field scratched boxes in the soil will serve as base and works of practical art.
Living room? Rocking chair for first, then sofa for second, roam on to third at the love seat til returning to the old shirt where the trip did start.
On the city street, front bumper of the Ford serves first, then on to the manhole cover in the street, a place for defender and runner to meet. Fire pump as third will do great, til returning to the sewer that served as the plate.
There and back and midst trip adventures to be sure: leads to take and tag ups to make. A good jump and then mad dash and slide are made with pick offs to evade. On such a path of an uncertain journey, on base is a nice place to be.
by Philip Pecorino
For those who can fathom the beauty in the game,
there is surely is nothing lame
to say that baseball time is close to divine.
It starts when you get there and ends when you leave, nothing more
. beautiful to conceive.
Start when you get to the field
and stop when to darkness you must yield.
Get under way out back much sooner than later
to end when you get called in for dinner.
From the beginnings that rest in memories of sandlot plays on to
. glorious major league majestic displays,
the rhythm and temper of the game,
though never quite the same,
feels quite right,
whether in day or night.
Start seasons when the season’s leaves spring out from branch and
. vine then end when they’re falling as winter season comes calling.
It all seems so natural as if designed supernatural.
When I Swiped a Seat from Chavez Ravine (Well, Sort of a Seat, but I Stole It Like Davey Lopes, I Tell Ya)
by David Adler
In 1983, in the cheap seats of Dodger Stadium
It was Mormon Family Night at the Bardball palladium.
We paid exactly three bucks a bleacher ticket
And yet from that far we could still hear the wicket
When Franklin Stubbs went yard
Off a rookie from way down on the farm
And memory is a game the older you stay sane.
A single becomes a deuce, infamy becomes fame
A nail-biter becomes a rout
Barely clears the wall becomes no doubt,
But when the last of a Dodger 6-4 victory was secured
Saved by the red-headed, Landers-sister-dating Neidenfuer
(But Judy, not Audrey, my personal amor)
And as Helen Dell at the Dodger organ played
Others filed out quickly while we hung and stayed.
Then the Mormon kids in the row behind us spazz’d
So stoked to have room they were spasmically jazz’d.
The one boy (of the six) was dancing like Astaire
When he tripped and fell hard and forward right where
The orange numbered bleacher back was waiting
And while some opposing fans were still hating
On my main man Franklin Stubbs
With their sore loser little nubs
The Mormon kiddie Gene Kelly
Did come crashing onto his belly
Breaking off the back of the seat
Better than a firm Pedro Guerrero cleat.
He tumlbed into our row, face first into peanut shells
And then his quite pale rotund dad yells,
“I told you not to dance around like that,
You’re as deaf as a bat.”
Then when the kid got up and left with his folks
One of my buddies gave me the pokes.
He pointed down on the ground
Where the orange bleacher back was now to be found
So I nabbed it up like a professional getter
And jammed it up under my crew-neck sweater.
(Come on, it was ’83, I probably had Top Siders on, too.)
Anyway, with a piece of stadium tucked under my clothes
Exiting surrounded and camouflaged by all my bros
I made it past security and out with my O’Malley booty
And into the parking with that incomparable souvenir of baseball beauty.
I put it on display, and I wish it’d had its own hardball elf
To dust and buff it and tend to it every day on the shelf.
But then I became old and moved away from L.A.
My shortcut to Chavez Ravine through Chinatown faded away
In my memory, and so I put away that orange seatback
And I tucked away that memory with my other youthful knick knacks:
The memory that we played the Expos that night, with Larry Parish at 3B
And Gary Carter behind the dish crouching a knee
But it’s all so faded and I’ve lost touch with my guys.
Still, those baseball heroes of childhood never lose their grand size*
(especially Terry Forster).
Some days though, usually when I hear Vin Scully
I pull that seatback out of its storage gully
And I sit and I stare at it and I ponder the baseball Zen
That let me take home Dodger Stadium bleacher seat 110.
(Non-Poetic Postscript: Upon researching this particular game, I discovered it occurred in 1985, not 1983; that the Dodgers defeated the Braves, not the Expos; and that Franklin Stubbs did not hit a home run in the game. I do, however, know with certainty that it was Mormon Family Night. Or maybe day. Ah, memory!)
You can see cartoons and other work by David Adler at his website.
by Michael X. Ferraro
Stealing a base involves taking a chance.
Even more so when you’re not wearing pants.
Tampa’s half-streaker probably reckoned,
“Low wind resistance’ll help me nab second.”
But security met him at the bag,
throwing him out with an intimate tag.
Michael X. Ferraro is the author of Tased & Amused: A Poetic Recap of the 2010 MLB Season, which recounts such harrowing fan tales as an on-field tasering and a case of intentional regurgitation.
For more coverage of the story, click here.
by Doug Fahrendorff
Labor Day weekend
Another season finished
Third in AA
Is making the show
A scintilla of hope remains
A dream still alive
Will it survive