Ernest Lawrence Thayer
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
Felix N. Stefanile
cleats on his shoes,
and a hometown shoulder,
Franklin Pierce Adams
So pitch that every man can but admire
And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
J. Patrick Lewis
Now what you hear, as flags unfurl,
Is “Atta boy!” and “Atta girl!”
Poets playfully measure baseball’s symbolic weight.
wants you to know he's only
human: We're human beings.
That's why we're here.
to take bat’s
It’s the keenness of conflict that appeals
this is not a microcosm,
not even a slice of life
Every day I peruse the box scores for hours
Sometimes I wonder why I do it
Baseball imagery seeps up from the subconscious.
i know i will
miss, because i always miss when it
takes so long.
Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
Bushes, a double,
off the fence, triple,
and over, home run.
this is the moment replayed on winter days
when frost covers the field,
Fathers, sons, and daughters on the field and in the stands.
I could homer
into the left-field lot of Carmichael Motors,
and still you stressed the same technique,
but you, there, father, through it all, a yardbird solo
riffing on bat & ball glory, breaking down the fabricated myths
And go back to the bleachers at Yankee Stadium
where you took me at 7 though I was not the son
Kenny’s bottle smashed on home plate and Jack heard in the sound
the absurdity of all his desiring since seventh grade,
Watching the game becomes a sport unto itself.
William Carlos Williams
So in detail they, the crowd,
men’s eyes are blank
their thoughts are all in Pittsburgh
Uneasy knowledge in them of a time
When they, like these, could hit and fitly run
Poets and players on attentiveness, idleness, intimacy, and other parallels between poetry and baseball.
Baseball’s very rhythms are those of poetry, acknowledging that if everything can change in a moment, then attention to those moments is an essential duty.
I write from Caracas, the murder capital of the world, where I’ve been employed by the Leones to score runs and prevent balls from falling in the outfield.
Ron Silliman interviewed by Jim Behrle (Jim Behrle & Ron Silliman)
Poets historically can be pretty fun ballgame companions, and not only if they are on hallucinogens at a Red Sox/Yankees game like Ted Berrigan and Harris Schiff in the great Yo-Yo’s with Money.
What sets these poems apart from the bulk of baseball poetry, and from the ideology of individual accomplishment that is so much a part of the ethos of the sport, is that they’re about failure, and about intimacy, implying a deep, even necessary connection between the two.
Anselm Berrigan interviewed by Bethlehem Shoals (Anselm Berrigan & Bethlehem Shoals)
And in baseball, there’s so much space in the sport. The pitchers are doing a lot physically, but at the same time, they’re also standing there. You have to get interested in a slower sense of time passing.