Liberal Arts

by Ember Nickel

Arithmetic is a liberal art
Where all the rest of the statistics start.
Runs, hits, and errors. Averages. Fractions.
A boiling down of long hours of actions.
Memorizing records they thought would last.
Counting up to them…and then counting past.

So was geometry. Ninety feet square;
Sixty feet, six inches. Pentagons, there.
The distances to left-center and right
The arc of a parabola in flight.
Pythagorean “caught stealings”.  The shift
As sunlight or as fielders slowly drift.

And music. “Take me out to the ballgame”
Makes sense on TV (we’re not those who came)!
The melody leading up to the “charge!”
A place for many to sing on a large
Scale. Even anthems, sigh or groan,
Have found a way to call the field their own.

Astronomy (not just the Houston type):
To gaze at stars in green cap or pinstripe,
To classify them and predict who’s next
Even if things don’t go as one expects
To play under the lights, have some eclipse
Of newcoming talent, cheer on your lips.

These were the quadrivium. Yet there’s more;
Grammar was one subject that came before,
The simple linkups of fielder and base,
The schematics with everything in place.
The count, the swing, the hit. The strike. The ball;
No wonder it might be first of them all.

Logic. Decisions on the field of play;
To pinch-hit here? To bunt or swing away?
To try the long ball? Play for ninety feet?
Looked back on, criticized after defeat,
Forgotten in the wake of victory,
With everything else swirling giddily.

And rhetoric. The DH, pro or con?
Are the good days still here, or have they gone?
Williams or Ruth? Or Bonds? How to compare?
Is there any metric that’s really fair?
What might different statistics have revealed?
When will our announcers look at the field?

But now the random questions one responds
To are more pointed than “Pujols or Bonds?”
It’s “Do you recognize this obscure gem?”
If not, “So, why haven’t you heard of them?
You only follow MLB, as if
It was some ‘major league’? A swing and whiff!

There are other leagues, you short-sighted fool!
Oh what do they teach at your old-time school!
And I don’t just mean ‘A League Of Their Own.'”
So while I, yes, have heard of Toni Stone,
I don’t feel like this line of questions suits.
These aren’t your normal trivium pursuits.

Ember Nickel presents her various treatises at Lipogram! Scorecard! 


Published in History, Lyric, The Game Itself | Link to this poem | No Comments

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