Wednesday, March 31, 2004


It is the beginning of the baseball season! Take me out!

Like all sports, baseball is maximizing its profits by extending its season to ridiculously unpleasant lengths. No sport is a ludicrous as hockey, of course, but baseball should start in the middle of April, if you ask me.

My favorite American poet (of the 20th century?) is Marianne Moore. Miss Moore was born in and raised in Brooklyn, then moved to Manhattan. She was an avid baseball fan and wrote this piece in honor of the American pastime.

Baseball And Writing
Marianne Moore

Suggested by post-game broadcasts.

Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either

how it will go

or what you will do;

generating excitement --

a fever in the victim --

pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.

Victim in what category?

Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply?

Who is excited? Might it be I?

It's a pitcher's battle all the way -- a duel --
a catcher's, as, with cruel
puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly

back to plate, (His spring

de-winged a bat swing.)

They have that killer instinct;

yet Elston -- whose catching

arm has hurt them all with the bat --

when questioned, says unenviously,

"I'm very satisfied. We won."
Shorn of the batting crown, says, "We";

robbed by a technicality.

When three players on a side play three positions
and modify conditions,
the massive run need not be everything.

"Going, going . . . " Is

it? Roger Maris

has it, running fast. You will

never see a finer catch. Well . . .

"Mickey, leaping like the devil" -- why

gild it, although deer sounds better --

snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest,
one-handing the souvenir-to-be

meant to be caught by you or me.

Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral;
he could handle any missile.
He is no feather. "Strike! . . . Strike two!"

Fouled back. A blur.

It's gone. You would infer

That the bat had eyes.

He put the wood to that one.

Praised, Skowron says, "Thanks, Mel.
I think I helped a little bit."

All business, each, and modesty.

Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.

In that galaxy of nine, say which

won the pennant? Each. It was he.

Those two magnificent saves from the knee -- throws
by Boyer, finesses in twos --
like Whitey's three kinds of pitch and pre-


with pick-off psychosis.

Pitching is a large subject.

Your arm, too true at first, can learn to

catch the corners -- even trouble

Mickey Mantle. ("Grazed a Yankee!

My baby pitcher, Montejo!"
With some pedagogy,

you'll be tough, premature prodigy.)

They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees. Trying
indeed! The secret implying:
"I can stand here, bat held steady."

One may suit him;

none has hit him.

Imponderables smite him.

Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds

require food, rest, respite from ruffians. (Drat it!

Celebrity costs privacy!)

Cow's milk, "tiger's milk," soy milk, carrot juice,
brewer's yeast (high potency) --

concentrates presage victory

sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez --
deadly in a pinch. And "Yes,
it's work; I want you to bear down,

but enjoy it

while you're doing it."

Mr. Houk and Mr. Sain,

if you have a rummage sale,

don't sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh

Studded with stars in belt and crown,

the Stadium is an adastrium.
O flashing Orion,

your stars are muscled like the lion.

All author works published at Dick Mac (alive!) are published without permission, and forgiveness and mercy are begged.