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 the Village Elliott
For sons Edinson, Bobo and Mort
Volquez started Royals’ World Series play
After learning Dad just passed away.
Just like Cards’ Cooper knew,
And Bengals’ Bobo, too,
Back in forties; each team won that day.
The Royals’ Edinson Volquez threw the first pitch of the 2015 Series yesterday, having learned on the way to the park that his father had died earlier that day. He pitched six innings with no decision, though his team won in the 14th.
In the 1940 World Series, Detroit Tiger Bobo Newsom shut out the Reds in Game 1 with his father in attendance. After the game, his father died. He dedicated his victorious Game Five start to his dad. Asked to also win Game Seven for his Old Man, he replied, “I think I’ll win this one for Old Bobo,” but lost 2-1.
Three years later, the Cardinals’ Mort Cooper learned his father died a few hours before his Game Two start against the Yankees. Pitching to his brother Walker, he won the Cards’ only game in the 1943 World Series.
by James Finn Garner
So now, my friends, it has come to this,
The World Series of 2015
The kids ablaze on the New York Amazin’s
Versus the Big Blue Royal Machine.
Let’s consider all that’s gone before
As we bid the warm weather goodbye
Some teams did roll as had been foretold
While others came through with surprise.
The new Cubbie kids swung some mean bats
The Blue Jays refused to show fear
Motown fell dead, now needs a retread
While the Giants await an even year.
The Dodgers in their close-ups again blinked
Staid St. Louis became hot and unglued
The Nationals sputtered, then throttled each other
The Lone Star State watched a marvelous feud
So when someone tells you baseball is boring,
Whether online, at work, in a bar,
Don’t chuckle or sigh. Look them straight in the eye
And say, “Baseball’s not boring — you are.”
by Hilary Barta
It’s brutal, New York in a sweep
Our beautiful dreams in a heap
St. Louis, detested,
Chicago had bested
But swept by the Mets? What the bleep!
Each step that the Cubbies had made
Champagne in the clubhouse was sprayed
But now all the fun
Brut showers are done
For losing they hold no parade.
The unknowns on the Cubs have made gains
But have shown that some work still remains
On youth the team’s based
And a truth must be faced:
With growing there always comes pains.