Poetry News

Where are all the baseball stats poets?

By Harriet Staff

FanGraphs, a website dedicated to baseball statistics and analysis, bemoans the lack of poetry dedicated to modern infielders (when you're this deeply into the details of statistics, simple, generalized baseball poetry just doesn't cut it). Jonah Keri points to Franklin Pierce Adams' poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon as having such outsize influence that it contributed to the Hall of Fame enshrining of three relatively undeserving players— the Cubs' Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance. Adams wrote the poem in 1910 as a salve to Giants fans who couldn't catch a break as long as those three were on the field. Though we're no statisticians here, it would also be appropriate to note how long it's been since anyone wrote poetry about being threatened by the Cubs.

Yet despite the amazing resumes of Derek Jeter and other modern middle infielders, no double play combination has had a poem — or anything close — written in its honor in 100 years. This is especially sad in the case of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, arguably the best keystone combo of the past 30 years, given their combination of skill and longevity by each other’s side. If someone had written a great poem about the two Tigers greats, they’d likely be in the Hall of Fame, too.

In order to remedy Baseball's Sad Lack of Poetic Justice, Keri offers up for inspiration the combined stats of the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, along with their first baseman Ryan Howard (to complete the original poem's trifecta). The entries just in the past 24 hours have been impressive with nearly 30 to choose from, but one Mets fan went a step further, providing three alternate stanzas, one for each of his despised Philadelphia players:

...striking out lots, a walking stink bomb
he couldn’t find a date to his prom
no one loves him not even his mom
ryan howard, a big fan of the nom

...overrated, don’t care what you say
sick of hearing of him every day
(his mvp was a crime by the way)
jimmy rollins, he can’t touch jose

…hate him so much that i almost swore
best on the field, i just cant ignore
come to the mets and add to our core
chase friggin utley, descendant of thor

Originally Published: February 11th, 2011