Book of Baseball

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Author’s Note

I can’t say baseball is my favorite sport. I wouldn’t sit on a couch watching it for hours every Sunday like the NFL. Hell, I’ll watch an Olympic basketball game between Slovenia and Germany, but some years the entire Major League Baseball playoffs will just slip right past me. 

Baseball is, however, my favorite sport to write about. 

Forward by Jose Negroni

A Sharp Line Drive

When I played softball at Sarah Lawrence College I was awesome. Every Friday afternoon for my physical education credits I would show up at Marshall Field and get a lot of hits, score a lot of runs, and snag every fly ball that came my way.

The Nervous Breakdowns of 19th Century Professional Ballplayers

Pro baseball in the 19th century was very different than today. They hadn’t invented the hot dog or the national anthem yet. A guy would lead the league with something like a .500 batting average and could also lead the league with something like 1 homerun. A ticket could be had for 25 Indian head pennies, and a player wouldn’t be paid much more for the season. Teams were only in the easternmost cities and their uniforms were turtlenecks and elf stockings. The players originated from all regions and backgrounds, but they all retired for the same reason – nervous breakdown. 

A List of Former Major Leaguers

And now I will compose a list of former Major League Baseball players…

B’cuz I remember their names so easily. My summer action figures and childhood dictionary, I played with their syllables all season. Often as rhythmic and graceful as their onfield play, so crisp and delicious sounding, you just wanted to bite right in like ballpark food…

The European Starlings in the World Series

The winner of this year’s World Series was a flock of European Starlings flying with precise coordination across a road near where I live…

They’d never been the champions of Major League Baseball before, ever since 60 of them were introduced in 1890 Central Park by a guy who thought all birds mentioned in Shakespeare deserved to exist in North America. In fact, for 126 years The European Starlings had come in last place.

What Inning Is It?

The Closer, our strongest arm, who holding nothing back for one final inning can blow away our opponent’s hitters, protect our lead, and save the game, is all warmed up in the bullpen. The crowd is on their feet. The other team’s lead off man heads to the batter’s box. But for some reason no one on our team can agree what inning it is.

Todd Van Poppel

Todd Van Poppel 
Todd Van Poppel 
pitching prospect  
limitless potential

The Death of Baseball

My Old Roommate and I were watching the NBA playoffs on TV.

The score was close, the crowd was fierce, the announcers were hyperventilating, and I hadta do a lot of yelling at the screen.

“In the name of Adrenaline!” I cried, “my team must win or else!”

What’s the Catcher Hiding?

all that equipment…
chest protector
shin&knee guards

all tucked down…
low on knees 
between bulky batter
and heavy-set ump
everyone watching the pitch&bat anyway

the catcher could be hiding anything and no one would know…  

Sometimes Opening Day Is in July

Sometimes Opening Day is in July
and everyone wants to know why 
but the Gods of Baseball will not say  

sometimes they play to near empty stadiums   
bleacher mannequins and knock-off crowd hums  
locker rooms stocked with Purell drums
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