By Stuart Shea
“Does Bryce Harper hustle?”
For what is this bustle?
Why are he and his manager in such a tussle?
“Does Bryce Harper hustle?”
Is he a Jack Russell?
Or is Matt Williams’ brainpan made solely of muscle?
Stu’s new book, Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, is available now. Buy it today!
by Stuart Shea
Upton up and down?
Uggla ugly or upward?
Freddie a Free Man?
Now that everyone
Has left the stadium, the
Rebuild can begin.
A farewell to arms—
No Harvey, no Mejia?
And one fat Colon.
Welcome, Matt Williams!
Now that you’re here, it’s assumed
You’ll win right away.
Old men, broken down,
Troll the green fields of the town,
Searching for what’s gone.
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
Baseball in August creates many jobs
for travel agents and typesetting slobs.
Rehab assignments, Triple A spot starts,
Pennant aspirants shopping for spare parts.
Roster gods move in mysterious ways–
David DeJesus, three teams in five days?
Colin Cowgill’s grin, Billy Buckner’s frown.
Holy Toledo, Phil Coke’s been sent down!
Some guys can’t clear waivers; others released,
Plus one salary dump in the NL East.
(The Mets helped Pittsburgh in a deal most absurd—
Just tossed them a Buck and flipped them a Byrd.)
Eduardo Sanchez, gone from the big club.
But Ma Arrieta, Jake’s now a Cub!
Brad Boxberger sighs, packs for the bushes.
John Axford heads where the playoff push is.
Contenders reload, pretenders cut bait.
Hey Tuffy Goseswisch, Reno’s your fate.
Jose Constanza the Braves did recall,
with hopes that he’ll help them deep into Fall.
Philly’s less Savery—no Joe in the bigs;
Report sir, at once, to the Iron Pigs.
Ross Wolf’s been optioned to Round Rock Express,
while the Dodgers scooped up Edinson Volquez.
One-line transactions, a queer kind of fame.
Vic Black, you’ve become “Player To Be Named.”
Xavier Avery’s now a Rainier,
maybe Seattle, he’ll see you next year?
Michael X. Ferraro is a writer/producer/lyricist who scans the fine print daily to make sure he hasn’t been outrighted to Lehigh Valley.
by D. Bruce Brown
Is Haiku foolish?
For the national pastime?
Heavens, I hope not.
Nice guys finish last
Crabby managers do win
They still need pitching
Is money the key?
It can bring in the big names
No, it’s the scouting
Thin air skews his stats.
Is Todd a Hall of Famer?
No, probably not
We won it all twice…
With an absence of offense
Only even years
A beautiful park
The only Hall of Famer
Is up in the booth
Fourteen in a row
Is not so impossible
It might start this year
First picks starting games
Davey says this is his last
A doormat no more
A team on the rise
They are not now any more
We all miss Harry
A small pantheon
But will be growing soon now
Matt Harvey’s a star
Was ever team
More worthy than its owner
To be in the Bigs?
The league’s best record
They have birds on their jerseys
We all will miss Stan
A great tradition
Lives on in the memory of fans
Maybe the year’s here!
Phillips is wondrous
The rest are outstanding too
It’s Dusty’s last year
The city’s windy
Is anything more constant
Than fans’ apathy?
Segura is great
John Axford is clean shaven
Nicest fans ever
D. Bruce Brown has posted daily trivia questions for Horsehide Trivia since 1997. He is also the president of the Bob Davids chapter of SABR.