“Autumn – crisp as a” – Haiku about Baseball

Autumn-crisp as an
Orchard apple, the crack of
A World Series bat.

Advertisements

“satisfying thunk” – “curveballs beguiling” – Baseball is haiku

satisfying thunk
of a strike finding leather
baseball is haiku

curveballs beguiling
as the swoop of a swallow
baseball is haiku
___________
Baseball is a sport that is chopped into moments like few others. There is a pause in between each pitch which can either be as languid as the cadence of fan on a hot July afternoon or as filled with tension as the moments before a jury’s verdict. Something is going to happen. In the really big moments, those moments that are made crisper with an Autumn chill, the home crowd will roar in support of either their pitcher or batter and within a split second the volume will either be turned up to eleven or die like a dampened piano.

Also, like the moments I describe above, baseball has numerous sights and sounds both on the field and off that are perfect sensory fodder for the haiku writer who loves the sport. Could it be that’s why they love baseball in Japan? 🙂

Albert Pujols vs. The St. Louis Cardinals or “We’ll be alright once this first meeting is out of the way!”

Tonight at 9:05, Pacific Standard Time, somewhere in Southern California a man and a woman will meet at a bar and exchange nervous glances across a crowded floor. Their hands may be sweaty, their hearts racing and sore–or angry or bitter or sad–as they meet one another for the first time after having broken up a month ago. And exactly at that same moment across town, at Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Albert Pujols will square off against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It is true that that the rest of the Angels will be there too. It is true that Albert will insist that this is just another game. But make no mistake, this one means a great deal to him. This series does, and somewhere during its course he may do something remarkable. You see, estranged lover though we are, after 10 years of a committed relationship we know how he is. We know how he uses slights and perceived disrespect to increase the chip on his shoulder. How he uses that chip like a muscle to hammer balls over the fence, to punctuate his retort to his critics, as he did three times in game 3 in the 2011 World Series following criticism after game 2. Lovers know these quirks of character, these flaws, and choose to love all the same.

In truth, though he will virtually be trying to take on the entire Cardinals team all on his own, it will not be the players themselves who will be in his cross-hairs, as he is close to many and cheers them on. It will not really even be us in Cardinal Nation, though he will want to prove something to those of this nation who still malign him for choosing to leave. No, really it will be Cardinal’s management to whom he wants to send a message, who he feels disrespected him in the negotiation process, hurting and angering him and causing him to leave.

If Cardinal Nation is a woman spurned, the one left, there are as many conflicting opinions and emotions therein as there are in the aftermath to a breakup or divorce. Many say good riddance, that they don’t care, that we are doing fine without him, which is true enough. And yet the vehemence in their protest itself betrays a desire that the situation might have been otherwise. Other, perhaps wiser, folk have constructively moved on, realizing that the economics of baseball, the physiology of aging, and the psychology of superstars was never going to allow for there to be a happy ending in this case.

And then there are those of us who know these things–who know that the key pieces to our current success could not have been kept or procured while at the same time keeping Albert–who know that economics were never going to work–who are still sad nonetheless that it did not work out–who are still sad that a beloved player, one of the greatest the game has ever seen, could not have bucked the trends of the modern game, the pride of in his heart, to accept a reasonable offer, which would have kept his team fiscally sound and one of the the baseball powerhouses. Why could he have not chosen to stay with the city that made him, the city that he made?

It could have been a beautiful thing, Albert. Yeah, there would have been detractors as we witnessed your decline, but you also would have been widely loved, defended, and adored–silly emotions all to have for someone just for playing a game–but they would have been genuine nonetheless. And when you would have wound it all down–after your number would have been retired and after the statue to “El Hombre,” to you, would been erected next to the the statue of “The Man,” whom you loved–well then you would have entered the Hall of Fame unequivocally as a St. Louis Cardinal, perhaps as the greatest Cardinal ever. And that would have truly been a match made in Baseball Heaven.

______________
Previous posts on Albert
“Breaking Up is Hard to Do – Haiku for Albert Pujols from the Jilted City of St. Louis”
“A Place With the Greats? – Busch Stadium Statues and Albert Pujols”

:( And with Cardinal baseball over it’s back being a photo, haiku, and an odd prose reflection blog

Class act and amazing MVP, Marco Scaturo. Congratulations. Matt Cain, he of the beaning of Matt Holliday only after a 7 run lead, not so much. I know vengeance is the Lord’s and I guess the tables are even and Matheny showed great forbearance in not retaliating, but maybe, just maybe on a sleepy July afternoon in the dog days of summer next year, when Matt Cain is at bat he feels a sharp pain somewhere on his upper body. I’m just saying. Baseball players have long memories.

Thanks for a fun, if inconsistent season, Cardinals. Congrats on getting to the NCLS on your first time out of the box, Mike Matheny.Go Tigers!

Of Giants and Gene Pools, Cardinals and Cardiacs, and Baseball Game Sevens…There Had to be a Game Seven

Tonight just after Angel Pagan hauled in Daniel Descalso’s final fly ball out to hand the Cardinals a second consecutive loss and yet again push them to the brink, my young nephew made a beeline to leave the room, to go sort out sorrow and anger and to lick his wounds alone. It is a response I recognize because it would have been exactly my own response at that age. In truth, it is often my own response today, and sometimes for far more important things than baseball. I did make it a point to haul him in and onto my lap tonight, though, to talk through disgust and hope together, to share the load of disappointment if only a little bit. I miss that sort of lap for me, too, to plop down into myself, but I reckon that lack is one thing that being an adult is about.

As my little doppelganger, it is amazing to see many of his similarities to me in his look, his frame, and mannerisms. It is less pleasurable to see the Das nervousness and bent toward the melancholy be passed on in the young ones, in him and his brother. Sometimes it makes you wonder whether you ought to pass along such things as the love of baseball at all. But even if the Cardinals lose again tomorrow and end their year, eliciting even deeper disappointment, it will have been worth it to have shared the excitement through the late summer and fall, to have received random texts about baseball scores, to be able to remember Andrew and Jack’s laughter as their silly, burly uncle missed the pitching screen in the summer again and again and again.

Speaking of that game tomorrow. It is a game 7, as it almost had to have been if you think about it, even if on Friday night Cardinals fans had fostered hopes of an easy NLCS victory to go on to face the raring-to-go Detroit Tigers. And though I could tell you that the Cardinals are at their best when their backs are against the wall, it would not be with much conviction. It does not look good. And even if we do make it through, that “we” a communal one of city and team, it may be as the poorer side with a weaker set of pitchers and more inconsistent hitters, but it will be nonetheless our team that makes it through, and, yes, a team that never gives up.

The Cardinals and Giants played each other 12 times this year with each team winning 6 games. They have played each other 6 times in the postseason, with each team winning 3. Something has to give. And with some bloops and some blasts from Cardinal bats, with a couple of pitchers making a stand, anything is possible. Tomorrow night about this same time I will make a tiny post with two simple pieces of punctuation, a colon followed by a parenthesis. We will just have so see which way that parenthesis is going to face.

And, finally, somewhere in the great beyond Carmen Miranda is saying, “Hey, wait a minute…”

inked in cardinal red – A Haiku for All St. Louis – Baseball Poetry

today all the lines,
city county divide, inked
in cardinal red
_____________

I am not a fool (at least not all of the time). I know it is just baseball. Tomorrow St. Louis will be the same city with sad racial and economic divisions between black and white and city and county. In a month, even if we win the series, baseball will not have had the power to create change. That lies in efforts elsewhere. Even the beloved ball park, Busch Stadium, itself, is a microcosm of the city – if you notice who sits where and who it is who mostly sit and who mostly serves, even who rakes the infield between innings, sort of fun glory job.

Even so, it is amazing just who Cardinal baseball gets talking to one another, often in excited or worried fashion, as they articulate shared hopes and fears and sweat out the games togethr. Just now a bunch of biddies in the Goodwill, in search of a tiny red jacket for a rally squirrel, were talking baseball, even if they were all confused about the status of the series, as “Play it Cardinal Style” pumped out on the radio. Yeah, it’s that kind of town.

So, if for a couple of weeks in October even if only our dividing lines get drawn in Cardinal red, well, that ain’t too bad.