“Dream in Which I Love a Third Baseman,” by Lisa Olstein

This piece seems quite appropriate early in the season.  I love the metaphor of the dugout as an igloo.  This poem was published in 2006 in Radio Crackling, Radio Gone.

*

At first he seemed a child,
dirt on his lip and the sun
lighting up his hair behind him.

All around us, the hesitation
of year-rounders who know
the warmer air will bring crowds.

No one goes to their therapist
to talk about how happy they are,
but soon I’d be back in the dugout

telling my batting coach how
the view outside my igloo seemed
to be changing, as if the night

sky were all the light there is.
Now, like two babies reaching
through the watery air to touch soft

fingers to soft forehead, like blind fish
sensing a familiar fluttering in the waves,
slowly, by instinct, we became aware.

Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
The smell was everywhere.


“Grand Slam,” by Marjorie Maddox

This piece manages to create in me a sense of nostalgia, a touch of depression, and feelings of peace and hope all at the same time.  It is short and sweet, and every time I read it, it evokes a different emotion entirely.  Written by Marjorie Maddox, this poem was published in Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems in 2009.

*

Dreams brimming over,
childhood stretched out in legs,
this is the moment replayed on winter days
when frost covers the field,
when age steals away wishes.
Glorious sleep that seeps back there
to the glory of our baseball days.

“Baseball,” by James Metcalfe

I like the simplicity of this piece.  It captures the most basic, most concrete qualities of the experience of attending a baseball game.  It makes me eager for the season to start so that I can get out to the K!

*

The game of baseball is the king
Of all the games we play
And it is one pursuit that is
Distinctly U.S.A.
The people swarm into the stands
To watch their favorite teams
And munch their hot dogs when their lungs
Are not engaged in screams
The pitcher hurls the horsehide and
The batter gets a hit
Or else the ball goes sailing and
Some fielder smothers it
A clever runner steals a base
A player takes a walk
Or managers and umpires
Decide to have a talk
The crowd is gay or gloomy or
Completely in suspense
But it goes wild when someone knocks
The ball beyond the fence.


“Infield Chatter,” by Michael Harty

I love how the passage of time is depicted in this piece.  I thoroughly enjoy the flood of metaphor in the first stanza, and the second stanza is so easy to identify with.  It’s like: this is life.  It’s not always pretty, but it makes for some damned good poetry.

*

You don’t hear the old chatter these days,
the third baseman’s chipping staccato
to your right, the random hoot from first,
behind you a warbled stream, a doubleplay
duet like meadowlarks celebrating summer:
that chorus of monologues, chanted mantras
of got-your-back, comebabe humbabe
shoot that pill, rock and fire, you’re the one,
but you’re not the one any more
and the game has changed.

It’s a poor imitation, just the very young
in their home and away jerseys
and all they know is batter the batter
with empty crescendo, like practice
for the talk shows. In the end your best stuff
is thrown into shadowed silence,
the seats half empty, the sun
sunk below the grandstand roof,
the birds gone mute,
even the children grown old.


“Offseason Blues,” by Steve Pellikaan

I think this poem, published in 2003, speaks for itself.  Just 59 days until pitchers and catchers report!

*

It’s cold outside. The wind is harsh.
There’s snow upon the ground.
You put on your coat, your gloves, your hat,
And go toss the football around.

It’s just not the same, though. The session is brief.
In no time, you’ve gone back inside.
You turn on the TV, or get on the net,
In search of any news they can provide.

You look at the calendar and shake your head.
The time is surely not short.
You count up the months, the days, the hours,
Until pitchers and catchers report.

You dream of Spring with the grass so green,
And the temperature on the rise,
When the fortunate few get together again,
To seek that ultimate prize.

The holidays come and go. Your family takes pride,
In the dinners over which they strove.
While the turkey is cooking, a smile hits your face.
You’re reminded of another “hot stove”.

The talk of free agents and trades being made
Gives you hope for the upcoming year.
You dream of the slugger, the pitcher, the coach
That this year you’ll get to cheer.

So, during this winter, when you’re thinking of baseball,
And it makes you want to groan.
Cheer up. Fans like us can take solace
In knowing we aren’t alone.


“Life’s a Pitch,” by Robert Heemstra

Here’s a bit of senryū verse that I thought I’d share, mostly because I love the title.  The play on words is amusing, and this also gave me the opportunity to learn what senryū is all about.

*

life’s a knuckleball
with so many curves and turns
watch out for that bat


“Star Fielder,” by Janet Kamnikar

This poem from Spitball Magazine is called “Star Fielder,” and I love the double meaning that this poem brings to that phrase.  In baseball, a star fielder is considered that defensive player who makes the spectacular plays.  In Kamnikar’s piece, it refers to the moon fielding the stars.

*

A slender crescent moon
lay on its back last night
low in the evening-blue sky,
while tacked high above it,
a single star shone forth,
the sky’s own diamond solitaire.
If that star should fall, I thought,
the moon, like a flashy center fielder,
would make a basket catch
and capture every drop of light.