I go back to Brosnan and stare at the covers. It’s more than the names beatnik, baseball, brain, and Bros, but that helps. And now that I turn the pages, the words whisper “go. skoot. skedaddle. hit the road, any road and see.”
Jim Brosnan pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and earned a couple of ISBN’s with his realistic portrayals. “A Long Season” chronicles the 1959 Reds and “Pennant Race” does the same for 1961.
Teams settle down for three nights and then move on. It is grateful dead tour, pow wow circuit, and on the road. Sure, the life is under the rules of major league baseball, but all the better. There are familiar faces and trust and fraternity.
Brosnan was a relief pitcher and lived in the bullpen where killing time is culture. An entire week goes by with no action, in the game anyway. The bullpen is the banter of a bar rail, army platoon, crip, blood, and anywhere where hiding is outlawed and pranks required.
You either speak up or get stepped on. And if you take what is said too seriously-you’re doomed. A baseball bullpen is a six month marathon.
Brosnan sugar coats nothing. He relays the dialogue in its raw form and then pauses the flow with sincere reflection.
From “The Long Season”….
“To get to Crosley Field I usually take the bus through the old, crumbling streets of the Bottoms. Negroes stand on the corners watching their homes fall down. The insecurity of being in the second division cellar leaves me. For 25 cents the daily bus ride gives me enough humility to get me through any baseball game or season.”