brewers baseball and things


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an atheist bows down

Laramie Lou slipped out of bed, stood up, faced east, and chanted, “If Hack Wilson can drive in 191 RBI’s in a single season, then I can be happy today. It was a ritual he did, but not by rote, because the feat changed every waking day, from most HBP to fewest walks per nine and yet, still no happiness for Laramie Lou. And then it got even worse, there were no words, nothing audible anyway, only spit dribble lips silence, not a sound. Laramie Lou had lost his voice and a panic ensued for he suddenly knew he’d never speak Greek, Hebrew, Xhosa, Navajo, or Etruscan; he’d never know each language’s secrets to happiness, no 37 different names for 37 kinds of winds and so he rolled over, ducked under his wool quilt and slept and dreamed of a lady with a Russian accent. She had still blue eyes. He braved her serenity and stared into those eyes, held it long enough to feel her right knee buckle and shoulders shrug and when he awoke, he knew god was close.

The morning bird watchers swore they heard Laramie Lou scream all night long, “sing some brass…drink a flask.” That’s why he lost his voice, they insisted. The newspaper delivery men disagreed. They heard something different.. “fling it crass, wear a mask” and so the kinfolk argued and debated and creeds were drawn.

Laramie Lou looked left and then right, noticed each side cheering their own kind and so he walked straight, between the masses, mowing down the fog. He walked for hours, until  the Mataloosa bridge. He slipped down the slope and there it was…a surprise, a 1966 Bert Campenaris baseball card, curled corners, faded colors, looking like a melted LP, but it was Campenaris alright, so with diamond nine, metal mind, Laramie Lou slid in silence back to slave labor frito lay conveyor belt double shift and then cleaning offices at night, grave digger Richie Hebner dawn, and back home, to do the dishes and laundry and writing holiday cards with real picture stamps and a trip to the standing in line post office – old men without glasses, big eyed ladies reading books, boys with backpacks, and Laramie Lou enjoyed a silent stare at the ho hum cashier, her first name pinned to her uniform, Darleene, her pleasant holiday greetings and maybe a future writing on note cards with her, sharing a brandy fused coffee, poor old mute Laramie Lou…all of it still a miracle.


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on a day vows are almost taken

i’ve never seen a mushroom cloud or i have, but only on tv….kind of beautiful which makes me wonder if the end of the world will be the same…sitting on a porch sipping one harveys wallbanger after another, hoping the vodka will never run out, contemplating god, maybe even talking to the the great one, ted williams, and then after a little rumination about next destinations, if there are any, that mushroom dust cloud closing in, my thoughts will switch to how close Joe DiMaggio came to hitting more career home runs than striking out  and just as i start to choke on the radiation fumes, up comes some new “oil can” Boyd pitcher nicknamed “moonshine” Mankowitz, hailing from some old, almost forgotten Mississippi town, and i will him with me for a beer or his preferred boilermaker, and down they go and down we go, two mushrooming spiral drunks with mike witt last day 1984 season perfect game smiles.


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on an otherwise not so romantic night

“A dirty chain ain’t half bad,” mulled Slapstick Sam. “Keeps a stranger from flying over the handlebars, keeps the links together.”

The air was thick, but it wasn’t summer, no swimming through molasses decisions needed, to move or not to move. It was almost winter and a few pitchers had already signed nice free agent contracts, a small trade here-talk of bigger trades there. Talk of January being mild, of the Sanitary Commissioner stepping down, of old Slapstick Sam unveiling his stack of basketball cards, the tall ones, from the early 70’s including the Lew Alcindor rookie and the sound of sweet Lew turned minds to Maury Wills and his 104 stolen base season, of him only getting caught 13 times, helped Slapstick Sam sleep well and he woke up good and ready, strong coffee wondering if Sadaharu Oh hit 868 homeruns, than maybe Josh Gibson hit 900 or some unknown league in Liechtenstein housed a gunner who hit 40 inside the parkers for 30 years which adds up to 1200 if these moon time calculations are accurate.

But back to that dirty chain, Slapstick Sam had his eyes on a girl. She went by the name Calypso the Copperfield, named after the magician, and she could dance, on a pogo stick or a unicycle, it didn’t matter, she had the stroke, in dirty water or high blue skies, she had the grace, that knowing she wasn’t supposed to be and so her and Slapstick Sam wandered into a wintery night and the smell was right, the wood burning and crispiness of it all December, but they turned back anyway and settled down on their cabin sofa, on a love seat, and flipped on a rerun of some old regular season game…the rib and ridicule of the play by play and color putting them at ease, glad to be alive for another night.


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i think i hate november

i was gonna quit drinking but confusion and paranoia and please pour me three more!!! and good thing i did drink because after reading charles bukowski’s ham on rye i learned about a baseball player i had never heard of before – Jigger Statz and so i shared my discovery with a friend who likes baseball. (it’s hard to have a friend who doesn’t like baseball at least a little) and he reminded me that Jigger Statz is one of 8 or 9 players who amassed 4,000 hits in pro ball…..most of Statz’s hits were in the minor leagues, but so what, that’s some firewood to wrap around me all winter or at least one lonely night in november.


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same sensation

he had no name, no birth certificate anyway, so he went by whatever strangers called him, look or shade, sometimes Moot, other times Quicksand and so with the world series over, he found old books, of Clem Bukaraskin in Cottage Grove, tossing pebbles at rodents to perfect aim and Clete Tamboykins swinging sticks at popcorn seeds to sync arms and hips dreaming of of a 27-game hitting streak by a boy born in far away town Idaho, a history of the PCL, Orlando Mitz’s trick pitches and all those tragic baseball suicides, and so he read and researched all the way to mid-February and full moon pitchers and catchers reported life all over again.


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the 28th

it was a no win situation. The first five batters were far from dubious. they’d been nailing hard drives into the everywhere since the first grade and here they were, all together, on the same team, in the same line up, and across the small sea stood an awkward gang, hair kind of messy, bowl cut black bangs, switch blades, reciting psalms. they had no rhyme, only nods of the head to do your own thing and they won with bunts and what not and there was a tall kid after the win who wanted to be added to this other team and there was a winter and another season opening day and the team rosters were not the same…and the game went on anyway.


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a beer

i haven’t been watching much of the baseball this post season, but i caught the news the other night. they were interviewing one of the three nobel prize winners for science. she said galaxies are born from black holes and that got me thinking about a lot of things like me pacing my apartment, drunk, way past the liquor store closing time and me really wanting another drink and not having a flask when my fridge opens and two closed beers bump to the floor and then roll right to me and I swear there were no beers in the refrigerator……is this the creation story rhetoric….of something coming from nothing…..of two beers suddenly appearing? is the universe expanding? do the people on the moon or people on other planets really care what’s happening to planet earth?


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tubas too

there’s something forever about a marching band – like maybe love, gum, cigarette, wafer christ cookie, or fuck that, we’re more desperate now and in need of a longer lasting fix, a stack of toilet paper coupons, a prayer, or a long glass of whisky. I guess they all serve similar purposes….a space ship runway towards our heart welcoming joy into our lives. lobotomy? I had a hankering for some drums a few minutes ago and Tusk came to mind and up on the you tube scoreboard came the video with no fans and i laughed, not a belly aching i forgot why i started laughing in the first place laugh…more of a kismet i’ll be damned kind of laugh…..NO FANS. Who needs electricity when we got tubas blaring in the breeze and a catcher eyeing up his wrist cheat sheet. exhibition, prohibition, regular season inhibition, late inning condition, 8 teams per league in the covid playoff rendition, i’m in.


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mike squires, west side story, and haircut 100

hey look, yeh, right there, across the street, a baseball player, or some semblance of one, got a john deere cap turned backwards, wearing a black blazer, like he was going to a wedding or a funeral or something, one sleeve rolled up but what appears to be a three quarter blue sleeve baseball shirt on the side with the blazer sleeve rolled up……something coming, something going….. and a wrist band like scooter gennet (that fading red sun), but wait a second, he’s holding a sponge in his right hand so he’s a catcher, but it’s in his right hand? That would make him a left-handed catcher thrower? Is that Mike Squires? or was he the left handed guy who played third base? Anyway, he’s whistling an old show tune. I can’t place it, but good thing i’m not wearing headphones because i can hear him slur “jets and sharks” so i assume it’s west side story, not that i’m a show tune musical maven, but that one, my mom listened to on her old record player and what better song to whistle by an old ballplayer than west side story, the new york, the gangs, the two teams, the rivalries the “friction is the mother of pearls” (john cooper clarke) the civil war, the inner civil war. i think i’ll cut my hair.


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milwaukee is often called brew city

getting hooked on old world series highlight videos, the ones that show fans cheering, player’s lovers, and have a narrator. well, i was wondering about sober and all those addiction hotlines and the thing is there’s nothing better than being drunk on world series highlights videos so screw the hotlines, I’m going back to the 1979 world series highlight film and getting drunk off that, with omar moreno’s weight which couldn’t have been more than 170 and yet, the wind didn’t whoooooosh him into the next town and willie stargell’s arm pumping and some oriole’s hair and the only 11 hit shutout in post season play, which didn’t happen in 1979, but I bet it was a lazy, afternoon game back when playoff games were played in the day so kids could run home from school and enjoy the game sweating not really concerned with the math of it all.