In The Big Inning

by Art Gomez

In the beginning there was silence
Complete and deafening
Enough for a quiet cliché about a pin dropping
The kind of silence only a home crowd can achieve
A silent empty air
created by dashed anticipations and disappointments too numerous

There was nothing in the stillness
to suggest an end to the resolve to wait another day
There was nothing but more of the same
Futility ruled as the first two men trudged from dugout to on-deck to plate

The first was out without a twitch of recognition
Watching as three straight zipped past
The second flailed at three more
But the stitched leather need not fear
as it found safe haven in the mitt

Next up

Sensing the final indignity and the end of the day’s misery
one lone fan began to clap
Slowly, what was left of the crowd began to laugh and clap along
A rhythm built that had been missing throughout
Even the Ump smiled
understanding the need

No one wants to be the last out but someone must
No one can step into the box with doubtful thoughts and survive
The confrontation at hand
although shared by many on and off the field
is in a sense one-on-one
And one will fail

It seemed as though the man on the mound was in control
Had a sure thing in the bag
and would soon have a refreshing shower and steak dinner
It seemed the man at bat was behind in the count before the first pitch

But things happen
Things happen in a subtle way and seem not to matter
One gets away and just nips the uniform

Man on first

The next with a powerful swing
manages to barely get bat on ball
and owes lady luck a big kiss for his “swinging bunt”

Men on first and second

Shake it off
No harm done
Get the next guy and go home
Quickly there are two strikes

The diehards who continued whooping
are standing and stomping
sensing the possibility of the unreal
Eliminate the impossible and the unbelievable can be true

The next pitch gets in his kitchen
The bat is shattered – splintered
Shards flying every which way
as the ball brazenly bloops just out of reach
from the outstretched infielder
The hard charging outfielder

Bases loaded

Players live for this moment
Down by three
Bottom of the ninth
Two outs
Winning run at the plate
A childhood dream of Grand proportions

A visit to the mound just for cool and concentration
It’s not like anything has been hit hard
or his stuff has disappeared
Just a few flukes
He’s the ace

The right man is up for the job
An RBI machine when it counts
Power to all fields

He knows what to look for and gets it
Smooth, quick, bat speed a blur
The “Crack” says it all

As the ball reaches the fences
the man in right times his leap
and the Umpire gets in position

The stands are on their feet
as time stands still
in anticipation of a moment to remember

A glove leans over and snatches
the ball in flight
The defender comes up empty
On and off the field
an eruption of pent up emotion

A game of beauty can leave
both victor and vanquished
stunned

Splendor on the grass?
Today’s faithful will never know

Fan interference
Batter out
Game over

In the Big Inning there was

[SILENCE

According to family legend, Art Gomez was conceived in a Chicago hotel room when his father had a tryout with the Cubs. A devoted Mariners fan, Art reads his poems in the Seattle area as a member of PoetsWest and Seattle Free Lances. His poems have appeared in Spindrift, Minotaur Press, Poetic Matrix, Seattle Muse, and Poets Against War, and on KSER 90.7 FM (Independent Public Radio).


Published in Ballparks, Fans, Free Verse, Players, The Game Itself | Link to this poem | 1 Comment

In The Big Inning: 1 Comment

  1. Stephen Jones wrote,

    Great job/work. Bravo!

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