brewers baseball and things


a hippopotamus may not be the sexiest creature, but still…

if some strange creature in an unfamiliar place promised me a body, but said you must have nine personalities, I would try and be positive and respond with something like,

“Well, can I at least choose the nine personalities?”

And if this strange creature said yes,
i’d pick nine positions on the diamond as my personalities.
the catcher would be my first choice.
he’d be my psychiatrist since catchers suffer a lot themselves.
it would be like choosing a boat builder if stranded on an island.
but the catcher wouldn’t eliminate the other eight personalities.
no way.
he’d help each personality realize their full potential.
for example,
he’d calm the aging super star pitcher down,

try to get him to not be so perfect.
maybe take him to the equivalent of a Fear concert,
have him play air guitar to “let’s have a war.”
give him a new edge,
put that look back in his eyes.
remind him that having good stuff is rare and insist,

“You don’t have any more good stuff. You’re old, but don’t worry.”

This would be a shock wave wake-up to the former ace who would realize the trick is turning not so good stuff into something halfway decent. He’d develop some new pitches and the results would be decent,
like six innings of 5 hit ball, maybe two or three earned runs, a couple of k’s and
keeping your team in the game.

then Dr. catcher would talk to the show-off rookie center fielder,

and well,
that’s an entirely different story.

at this point i would probably start feeling dizzy from all the inner voices,
all the banter back and forth,
not every position/personality blindly agreeing with Doctor catcher’s diagnosis.
i would take a deep breath,
pull up a chair,
pop a top on a Pabst and
enjoy a good old nine inning game on TV.




1 Comment

why i sort of hate history…

game five of the 1982 ALCS
county stadium
i was there
and yet,
I don’t remember a damn thing about the game
not the bark of the vendor, the smell of beer,
or fans running onto the field.
memory is so damn elusive.
nothing but flashes
a dizzy slide show.
only a familiar smell slows it all down,
turns it into an old film
but only for a few seconds.
maybe I don’t want to remember?
maybe I block it out because it’s gone and that makes me sad.
then joe charboneau pops into my head and
just like his name (charbon in french is coal)
there’s fuel.
suddenly, i’m grateful that my memory sucks.
i write this poem.
it forces me to focus on my life right now
that this is all i got.
just this….
the sound of a dumpster flap opening and closing in the breeze,
a walk to work,
some 8-4,
a homeless man begging for a change,
the smile of the post office cashier,
the seasonal discussion of baseball returning to montreal…..


a visionary dud or?

On a good day after work, I take deep breaths and walk home slowly. It’s paradise. I inhale bus fumes and see amputated trees. It’s been that way for 10 days now….tree stumps on apartment lawns. Makes me wonder if a man in a cape will swoop down at night and turn them into gnomes? Or maybe they’ll be picked up by a shredder truck and turned into pulp?

I hadn’t given these stumps too much thought until I sat down and started to write about them. Maybe the city cut the trees so the overhead electric wires will have more room, in anticipation of freezing rain this winter? Or maybe the trees have been diseased and had to be removed to not contaminate the other trees? Or maybe I’m the chosen one and it’s my duty to gather up all this wood and begin construction on a new baseball stadium? Of course, stadiums aren’t made of wood anymore, but I would be part of a new nation, a chosen nation, that comes together, a nation of warriors, wood gatherers, and millioners….together as one people to get people off their anti-baseball asses. There’s too much culture in Montreal anyway. They already took away our horse tracks.

We wouldn’t be the first to consider ourselves a chosen people. There were the Moonies starring Reverend Sun Myung Moon. He preached that Korea was chosen by god to perform a divine mission. There were also the Tarahumara people of northwest Mexico. You might recognize the name from one of the stories in Dreaming .400…..Running from the Shackles. In it, the main character – Tunis, the one who inspires the test tube baseball babies is part Tarahumara. The story is fictional, but the Tarahumara are real and they believe they are chosen people or “Pillars of the Sky.”

There are many examples of people who believe they are chosen. It probably does wonders for an individual’s self-esteem and potentially propels an entire race to great heights or causes a nosedive into confusion and paranoia. Either way, I like the extremes it begets. With that in mind, what would happen if I heard more voices,

“Collect 18 tree stumps and I will give you a dugout in which to dwell. Collect 7 more and there will be livestock for you everywhere, plenty of cows and pigs to provide an endless supply of hot dog-hamburger-bratwurst stadium concessions, wheat and barley for your beer too, and an endless supply of joy….no more misery, only dancing and joyful noise and screaming and laughing and fun fun fun!”

And then in flash, what if all of it was taken away. What if the 18 stump sacrifices and dugout promises didn’t exist? What if it was all fig newtons of our chosen people’s imagination? Then what? Well, we might look at each other anyway and realize that we had something going on, something good, a dance of sorts, a people, so we might decide under a still standing tree to carry on the tree stump search as a metaphor……..and from there, on that first day, we might find a stray stump and from it, carve out a baseball bat and it may not turn out so good. It may be a bit asymmetrical, but the historians among us might point out that old-time baseball players used bats a little less than perfect too.



a melody for roger maris

i had a dream Sunday night, of playing baseball in a beautiful beach fog. It was warm and i wasn’t doing much more than playing catch, but i woke up feeling great, not about having to go to work, but about that dream, about baseball. It felt like….I don’t know… a life jacket. I guess I was drowning. I guess I am. Even a newborn baby’s breath begins to rot on the way home from the maternity ward. Diaper rash soon follows and wail wail wail? those blood curdling screams tell a tale, of being a human, to suffer and yet, we carry on. Put on your overalls boy and hop up on the John Deere. It’s your day.

That other morning, there was an interim period, no more than a few seconds, when the beautiful baseball dream faded and my life came gushing back to me like the window of a slurpee machine….all the blood gushing down the window and into my head and all I wanted to do was flush it away and go back to sleep and dream that baseball clear dream. But I was awake. It was too late. I was doomed…..again. I had this and that to pay and there were rumors that Canada would be getting dumped on this winter more than last winter and that the snow would last longer, possibly into March or April. I downed a cup of coffee and thought about winter and then Dylan came to mind, his “You don’t need a  weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” I thought about him being raised in Hibbing, Minesota and Roger Maris being born there. I’ve thought about this before. It’s geographically pleasing like Aaron and Ruth being born a day apart is astrologically pleasing. Look at me….a day after that dream and i was thinking about Aaron, Ruth and Maris….Roger Maris, just saying the name pleased me, warmed my bones.


the four fling jiggarooo

I was reading a collection of poems last week. They were part of a contest. It had all the winning poems and runner ups and what not. I felt pretty stupid because only one of the poems made any sense and to make me feel even more stupid, it was written by an 11 year old. The poem was about genocide. The kid wondered why so many people had to die for such dumb reasons?

I feel the same way about baseball games these days, the ones on TV. I watch and instantly feel very stupid, like I should study astrophysics or something to better understand all the analysis, graphs, and charts on velocity, trajectory, first step, and what not.

Maybe I should study more science?

Nahhhh….I’d rather contemplate the wonderful world of John Kruk, impersonate his batting stance in the mirror and then invent my own little dance and perform it around my apartment. It’s the middle of November and it’s raining outside.



yesterday was friday in Montreal

I sometimes dream of sitting at a bar rail and holding court, engaging strangers in conversation, telling stories like a Canadian.(Canadians are good story tellers) But bars are too crowded and noisy and I grew up watching TV, mostly This Week in Baseball and half hour sitcoms. I think this created a life long need for quick fix stimulation, the visual kind. Bar room chatter and camaraderie on the other hand requires a great deal of patience and concentration. I read somewhere that to be a poet you have to sit a bar rail equivalent and soak it all up, all of it. I could never do that. Of course, it’s never too late to learn. Anyway, for now, I love being outside, especially on a Fall Friday afternoon at school’s out time. There’s that indecipherable buzz of children playing, their voices transformed into a chorus rising towards? the last rays of the day’s sun? I found a park bench on Gatineau street across from a firehouse. A fire truck was on the move, backing out of the garage. It made a soft siren bellow and then slowly picked up its noisy pace as it faded away into the somewhere north, replaced by the click clack of a lady’s high heels. People were gathered outside bars, to sneak a smoke and talk freely. I looked to my left. A couple were kissing. Not even the fire house hose could extinguish their passion.


let it rain….

Little did I know what baseball cards would eventually do to me. How could I? Do we ever know what a first drink or sniff, shot in the veins will do? I could have invested my newspaper money towards an accordion or a pogo stick and joined a Klezmer band or the circus, made something of my life, but no, I had to fork over bills to the old man dealer at the pharmacy….he wielding his wares with that wicked smile, all under the guise of wholesome American fun, a pastime, an initiation into the way, assimilated and accepted and off with your yarmulke kid and the hell with Odessa!

Little did I know, but it’s true; baseball cards, you are a ghost. You drive me into an obsessive compulsive frenzy, yes a frenzy, and not a disorder, a freaking frenzy, an OCF, an Obsessive Compulsive Frenzy. I pace back and forth in my small apartment because I don’t know what to do with all my cards. I could sell them, if I could find someone who wanted them and I’m sure I could. I have old cards, rare cards, nice rookies, and plenty of complete sets. But something always stops me. It’s…it’s…. it’s……I can’t put my finger on it. Oh how I wish I was a saint like Mother Theresa. Then I could sport a cape, call myself Father Tyrone and roam around town to children’s hospitals and hand out my cards to little Shriner kids. But then those kids would slip into being addicts or maybe worse, wind up like me, pacing in the throws of an OCF.

I could always decorate the sides and tops of a van, turn it into a scooby-doo vehicle, and wander American roads. I’m sure a car company  would donate a van and sponsor my journey. I would need no destination. But there would be no relief, only a bad back from sitting in the car so long. So why not turn it into a cooperative driving exercise with hundreds of card collectors taking turns driving? We would be spread out all over America, Canada too. We would be like a hand-over-the-baton-discover-America baseball card gang. We would have no destination, no ambition, no goal, only driving with baseball cards on our backs like cultural camels.

Or I could invest in a shredder machine, stuff all of my cards into the blades, fill up a bag with all the cardboard scraps, climb city hall’s ladder, roam the roof, and let the shredded cards float and fall. We could all do this, all over America, Canada too, at all the city halls. It would be like every city had won the World Series.