by Stephen Jones
Phillies’ fan faithful usually
Don’t have much to cheer about,
But thank you Vince Velasquez
For 16 Ks and a shutout.
(Philly blanked San Diego —
It was 3-0 —
And turned the Padres nosh
Into a hero.)
By C.S. Carr
Infielders play pepper sharpening reflexes.
Chooch works with the kid from Panama with a rocket for an arm.
Coach leans against the backstop staring into the gage,
shorten the stance
lower the hands
move closer to the plate.
Waits for that thwack from his bat
Like the crack of a pick striking a vein of coal.
The Big Piece lines
balls fired from the wheels of the batting machine
puncture the netting.
Gone are J-Roll, Chase,
the Flying Hawaiian, Cliff,
Cole, Doc, and Pat the Bat–
Phils perennial migration to Clearwater,
. it’s Spring Training.
The chatter in camp is about manufacturing runs:
bases hits; moving runners; bringing guys home
using an assortment of prospects–
Rule 5’s, free agents, draft picks,
couple of no-hit speed merchants
and a bunch of Punch-and-Judy hitters.
The calendar flips to the dog days of June, it gets hotter and the road trips get longer,
can the young arms hold up?
Lots of unknowns before they head north.
It looks like the Big Piece can’t hit
for power anymore.
by Hilary Barta
The Cubbies’ reliever Rondón,
To giving up leads has been prone.
One job he was given
But in runs are driven
A save and our confidence blown.
By Stuart Shea
Is falling down
Into the stands.
Did he land on his hands?
Or maybe his head?
I hope he’s not dead.
Oh, good. He’s getting up,
But a little bit late,
As Ruben Tejada slides into home plate.
by Michael X. Ferraro
The pitching stint of Francoeur
Shoulda been one inning fewer.
But the Phils’ bullpen phone
Had zero dial tone.
Chase Utley’s opinion? “Manure!”
Michael’s new book Circus Catch is now available.