brewers baseball and things

nature’s blues

11 Comments

There’s a leaf on a tree.
i see one every year.
some seasons it’s by the sewage treatment plant on bridge street,
other seasons it’s along the lake.
one time i saw it down in the valley beside the bingo hall
and then i was in the upper deck of this baseball stadium,
just sitting there between innings and
this kid beside me wasn’t keeping score.
he was making a paper airplane with the scorecard and
he held it up in the air,
not to show off or anything.
it was more of a sniper situation,
he was aiming his paper plane,
and his arm was stiff like a branch and
that airplane was like the lone leaf on a tree.

He took a deep breath and
set that plane free.
I watched it leave his finger and thumb
swerving back and forth
at first like a rock-a-bye-baby in its cradle,
but then some wind hijacked its destiny
and swerved it every which way.
gravity took care of the rest,
sending that paper plane on a downward spiral,
but then it slowed up and
waltzed a bit,
back and forth,
so quiet and anonymous,
eventually settling near first base,
just laying there
like a tired hobo,
wearing all of summer’s dreams in his salvation army blazer.
no one seemed to notice when
the grounds crew scooped up that paper air plane.
we just surrendered to
another ninth inning of a god damn game 162 and
the scoreboard played shock absorber
with its opening day 2016 announcement,
but that didn’t help.
fans with hidden flasks took swigs and the rest of us
looked at cracks in the cement.

*

I love pre-season trades. The winter league or hot stove league it is called. Not sure of the origins of the term, but seems potent as an antidote to cabin fever. Both a microscope of the present and a telescope of the future, a teams’s trajectory.

On December 12, 1980, the Brewers sent top prospect David Greene and fan favorite Sixto Lezcano along with pitchers Dave LaPoint and Lary Sorenson to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Ted Simmons, Rollie Fingers and Pete Vukovich.

At the time of the trade, cabin fever telescopes were probably not seeing a future World Series between the two teams, but scratch my back-scratch your back, heavens to Petunias in 1982, the Suds Series between St. Louis and Milwaukee happened. Vukovich won the Cy Young that year.

On November 13, 1985, the Boston Red Sox sent effective starter Bob Ojeda, Tom McCarthy, John Mitchel and minor leaguer Chris Bayer to the New York Mets in exchange for John Christensen, Wes Gardner, Calvin Shiraldi, and La Schelle Tarver.

Flash forward one year later and the Mets were still celebrating their World Series victory over the Red Sox. I can still see Calvin Shiraldi sitting on the edge of the Red Sox dugout, rubbing his head. Ojeda won two games in the 1986 post season including game three of that World Series. He also won 18 games in the regular season.

On December 17, 2012, a different New York Mets team with the same name traded the previous year’s Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey along with his catcher Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, catcher John Buck and minor leaguer Wuilmer Becerra.

Last night, Syndergaard pitched a scoreless seventh inning, earned a hold in his team’s decisive win over the Dodgers. The catcher for the Mets was d’Arnaud. And two nights ago, R. A. Dickey ran around the Rogers Centre in Toronto, spraying champagne at Blue Jays fans.

Both Syndergaard and Dickey will be pitching in their league’s respective championship series and even if the Mets and Blue Jays don’t meet….there are  the Cubs and Royals and endless story line possibilities, a for a little while longer, before the east and midwest get all freeze poppish and we all turn blue.

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

11 thoughts on “nature’s blues

  1. I like it. I like the whole thing. The poem and then the part about the trades.

    David Green started a lot of games during the Cardinals season between 1980 and 1982. He was highly touted. REAL highly touted. And the Cardinals outfield job was his.

    That is, until a funny-looking guy who looked like a cross between E.T. and J.J. Walker of the TV show “Good Times” came along, Willie McGee. The Cardinals, as far as I know, didn’t hold very high hopes for Willie McGee.

    But that’s good enough for me and Willie McGee.

    McGee really came into the baseball spotlight during the 1982 playoffs and World Series.

    Yeah. You’re right. THAT trade was really significant, a big trade. But who ever thought that just TWO YEARS LATER, they’d be going against each other in the World Series.

    I was rooting for the anti-establishment team, the Brewers.

    Glen

    • In terms of contributions, the trade played out better for the Brewers with Vuke winning a Cy Young and Fingers both a Cy Young and an MVP, but dammit, the Cardinals still won the World Series. We still think that if Fingers would have been healthy and pitched during the Series, we would have won…..woulda coulda shoulda, right? but at least the Cardinals are out of the picture this year.

  2. Lovely poem, just so enjoyable to read.
    I remember the trade between the Mets and Red Sox before the ’86 season quite well. I wasn’t sad to see Schiraldi go. I thought he was an overrated prospect to begin with, though I did like Wes Gardner. When Ojeda joined that staff, though, of Gooden, Darling, Sid Fernandez and the rest of the gang, I was very optimistic going into ’86.
    I have to say that the only time I can remember rooting for an A.L. team in the World Series was when I rooted for the Brewers to beat the Cardinals in ’82. Harvey’s Wall-Bangers were a fun bunch to watch.
    Fine work, Glen
    Bill

    • What a pitching staff those Mets had and have this year too! I sometimes stare at Sid Fernandez stats and my mouth waters. WHIP it real good!

      Hey, I think you referred to me as Glen and I’m glad you did because it reminded me that “you can call me Ray. You can me Jay………….. but you doesn’t have to call me Johnson.”

      • Oops, sorry about that, Steve. I had read Glen’s latest post today as well.
        Mets success always has started with pitching. This year, they got some hitting as well (at least in the second half of the season.)
        Cheers, Bill

        • I like to think we’ve all learned a lot from each other, our little writer’s group here. Thanks Bill. By the way, congratulations on the Met’s success. Holy mackeral Bill. Where were we last year? Discussing the value or lack of in the shortstop Ruben Tejada and now this. Great for baseball to have a New York team alive and well and thank goodness it’s your Mets and not the Yankees!!

  3. I found it only natural to find a poem here. Even when you write prose, your style flows like poetry.

    • Thanks for saying so. And now on to the ALCS. This is exciting. I forgot that this is sort of a Reds reunion for Cueto and Volquez, both now on the KC staff.

  4. Good stuff Steve….thanks for sharing.

  5. My favorite fictional trade involved the Yankees trading Johny Kucks to the A’s for Virgil Trucks, which never happened (although they were briefly teammates for the Yankees), and anyways Kucks ruined the whole damn thing by pronouncing his name “kooks”. Goddman killjoy.