Auld Lang Syne

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Baseball and Poetry

Well, let me just say that it is glorious to be living in New England where one can watch baseball nearly every day or night all summer long. Yesterday afternoon my husband said something like "why don't we watch a movie tonight?" and I gave him my one word answer: BASEBALL. Really, honey? A movie when we can watch a hockey game fight break out in Fenway? Good sport that he is, we watched the game. Hubby retired in the 5th inning, sent himself to the showers. I on the other hand stuck it out until the after-game wrap was over. It's like this for me since moving back to Maine in 2006. I love the repartee between Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, the tarp rolled out on the field during rain delays, the crack of the bat, seeing the Yankees lose in a spectacular fashion, seeing Jacoby Ellsbury's cuteness, watching Papelbon give the batter "the face" when he's set to pitch, the opposing fans fleeing the stands to avoid humiliation, our fans staying until whatever o'clock even if we're not winning, and Big Papi jacking one over the Monster. It just doesn't get any better than this (except for 2 WS wins in my lifetime!)

So how does baseball (btw, the actual word baseball for me always means RED SOX baseball) connect to poetry? You have to ask? It is nuance, tension, some interesting symbols and images, a few colorful words in various meters, and an overall setting where, due to long delays and hitless innings, one can take out a favorite book of poems and READ, or one can whip out a notebook and WRITE. Now now, lest you start thinking I am mocking baseball... I love the game. I would rather watch baseball than anything else on TV. Last night's game was a really exciting one and fulfilled its basic promise to fans everywhere: a fantastic single inning (8 runs in the first) followed by some rain (we did not roll out the tarps), a minor but scary pitcher injury (Beckett ... minor hyper-extension of left knee), and a full-on bench-clearing, bullpen-clearing brawl (8th inning), and a win over the O's 10-3. I did read poetry during the game (innings 5-8) and I did take notes for a new poem (inning 7... hey! its called the 7th inning stretch for crying out loud!).

Let's talk about "the fight." Big Papi gets thrown AT by pitcher Gregg (big snarl, spit-filled sneer to him). Not once but twice did the lug try to take Ortiz out at the gut, but then to add insult to injury he smart-mouthed him when he hit a fly ball that was obviously an out, telling him to run to first insinuating Papi was too lazy to do so... I take umbrage with that but a whole other story....

WELL, as soon as Gregg flings the words at BP, the ump throws the "yer outa da game" signal at Gregg, who doesn't pay attention to it at all, and instead throws a punch at BP who has headed to the mound for a "nice little chat" on etiquette (oh yeah sure! LOL). BP returns the punch and it's on! Both benches, both bullpens empty onto the infield and start the melée in fine fashion. It was a lot like watching hockey (another fav!). Of course we don't quite notice that the guy on 3rd who is waiting to be hit in for a score, also joins in the fray by leaving 3rd. Ha! New idea here.... he "abandoned" 3rd base and is now considered out. We find out about this in the ensuing minutes when the umps get together to decide who is ejected and when the game might resume. Oh dear. Ejected are the pitcher, Gregg (jerk) and BP who were duking it out. Also ejected are Johnson, a relief pitcher from the Orioles, and Saltalamacchia from our bullpen. Salty later said he has no idea why he was picked to eject as "I ran out of the bullpen, ran back to the bullpen, and then I got bounced." Guess the umps needed a couple of sacrificial ousters here. Whatever. The fact of the base runner's being out is announced and we head to the 9th, me on my feet by now waiting for the next fight or some kind of retribution from our guys. Calmly, we get the inning done and everyone goes home. Whew! So I go to bed with a satisfied grin on my face and wake up the hubby to share. He utters an "Oh, wow" and rolls over.

Isn't this just pure poetry? We play these guys again today... stay tuned.

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