Friday, May 03, 2019

Batter Up!

—Poems by Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH
—Anonymous Photos 


The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
My pitching had us up two with one inning more to play.
And when I retired Cooney easily, and Barrows as well,
The Mudville fans grew silent as if put under a spell.

A few fans left the park after that, but most still had hope,
The kind that comes from thinking they had all the inside dope:
They knew Casey's stats against me were really pretty fat;
They'd wager even money with Casey at the bat.

But that would require the next two to somehow get on base,
And Flynn and Blake doing, so wasn't likely to take place.
But despite what the numbers say, that's why they play the game:
Flynn got a base-hit off of me, and then Blake did the same.

I ignored the cheers for Casey as he strode up to the plate,
As I believed that today he would meet a different fate;
For these last few weeks I've been working on a big surprise,
And today would be the day to silence the home fans' cries.

He took my first two pitches, a curveball and a fastball,
Thinking he could handle whatever the catcher would call.
Now taking a full windup I let the fateful pitch go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
All around the world, new lovers' hearts are all atwitter.
Not here: mighty Casey's whiffed against my new splitter.


From the wooden grandstands where the small-time gamblers sat
was heard they'd bet even money if Casey got to bat

But the high rollers had gotten odds on the Giants to win,
and they'd paid out bribe money to ensure the fix was in

So while the many thought that the outcome was in doubt,
those in the know knew that mighty Casey would strike out


Then let not winter's ragged hand deface
The optimism of the coming spring;
Will we finish in our accustomed place,
Or is this the year we win the whole thing?
Did our team's offseason moves do enough
To acquire the pennant-winning right stuff?
Which journeyman will have a career year,
Which minor leaguer announce I am here?
Can our key players avoid injuries
While the favorites' players drop like flies?
(Though we wish for no one's infirmity
To mar our team's mark on posterity.)
Spring's the time when all records are the same,
And that's one beauty of the summer game.


When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone weep for my outcast state
And trouble deaf Heaven with my fruitless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate;
I am the hurler of the pitch that killed,
That killed a man possessed of many friends.
And those friends and the crowd were less than thrilled,
And I was a man thought to be a fiend,
Though I never felt need to clear my name:
The pitch's what's kept me from the Hall of Fame.
And of course it kept from Chapman the same:
The beautiful irony of this game.
Such is the fame notoriety brings
That I would scorn to change my state with kings.


So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse
And found such fair assistance in my verse
To put my every pen to quite good use,
And under thee my poesy disperse.
The game, which taught poets on high to sing
And batted ignorance out of the park,
If one were willing to learn anything,
Ever daily illuminates the dark.
I am most proud of that which I compile,
Showing your flavor, even born of thee;
Mine and others' works show the game's style;
All arts with its sweet graces graced be.
The game is inspiration for my art;
Anything good in it is from its part.


Let me not to the ardor of true fans
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
When it alters as front-running demands,
Switching allegiance to a team above.
O no!  It is an ever-fixed mark
That starts before the first pitch of the spring
And last through the summer at the home park,
Whether or not your team wins the whole thing.
And you give what fandom is demanding,
Even when a game is a total rout;
Love alters not with change in the standings
But bears it out to the season's last out.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no fan ever loved.

Today’s LittleNip:

Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.

—Tommy Lasorda


Opening Day for Major League Baseball was March 28, but we couldn’t pass up these celebratory poems by Michael Ceraolo. Thanks, Michael! If it’s spring, it must be baseball…

And what about women’s baseball? To read bout the future of women’s baseball, go to

Drop by Sac. Poetry Center tonight, 6-8pm, when Random Friday features Bradford’s Poets, readers from Aaron Bradford’s American River College poetry workshop. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating the poetry of baseball!

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clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
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