For Rod Beck

When we heard of the death of The Shooter

We all grabbed a beer and a smoke…

And we toasted the long-ago memories

And the quick way he had with a joke.

He’s dead, just 38.

It makes no sense

To those of us here on the outside.

Why him? He seemed normal.

Never formal,

So unaffected by the fame

Of the great game,

But sometimes worlds don’t collide.

For some, there’s no life after baseball.

For some, there’s no way to adjust.

So he left his wife and two children

In a cloud of motorhome dust.

He’s dead, just 38.

He died alone

In Phoenix, for God’s sake.

It’s got to be a mistake.

Sure, he liked a beer and his cigarettes.

That was part of his character.

But beneath the veneer

Of that which is legal,

it all was much worse.

The curses

Of hard drugs and failure

Of arm injuries and rehab

Are tough on athletes

With nothing else to do.

You can’t fish all day.

You can’t drink beer all day.

But when you’re Rod Beck,

And the dream is gone,

What do you do with your time

But look for the next high

And kiss each day goodbye?

Published in Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Lyric, Players, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Stu Shea | Link to this poem | No Comments

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