brewers baseball and things


catching foul balls

i guess you could make an analogy of seats at a stadium to class structures.
box seat bourgeoisie
proletariat grandstand
blue-collar bleachers and so on.
i’m probably messing up the terms.

County Stadium Milwaukee had its red seats and green ones,
upper and lower
box and grandstand
each had a number that matched the ticket.
like a private property chair,
until the last out anyway.

then there were the bleachers.
there were no private seats there.
i guess you could say it was communism,
all of us sharing space on wood planks,
we could see outfielders up close
and catch home runs too.

one of the first games i ever went to was with my older brother.
it was the Brewers against the Twins,
the year Carew flirted with .400.
we were in the upper grandstand.
a foul ball came there.
it pinballed around and disappeared.
we ran in its general direction, but couldn’t find it.
then this older guy reached down under a red seat and snagged it.
up went his arm.

another time, i was in the lower grandstand with my dad.
i forget who was batting,
but they hit a towering foul ball.
it was coming our way.
i cupped my hands together and watched it ricochet off the mezzanine.
arms went up all around me,
all kinds of arms.
I felt like a midget looking up at a levitating octopus.
the ball somehow eluded those arms and fell into my hands.
it had a black scuff mark on it from the 
I had caught a foul ball.

i wish i could say i kept score of games or
studied the graceful gazelle like strides of Robin Yount or
clumsy back tracking of Ben Oglivie or
Gorman Thomas’s shaggy hair.
i wish i could describe in microscopic detail how each seat provided a different vantage point,
but where i sat never mattered.

i was just glad to be at the game or because ummmm…..
there was always a chance.



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.




johnny finds a rose

it’s an early spring morning.
a pleasant cardinal tweet greets Johnny
but he wonders darkly instead.
if he were stranded in a small boat,
in the middle of a big ocean
with no signs of land,
no water to drink,
and no food to eat,
would he really care
that 37 games into this 2017 season
the Brewers were 20-17,
and had already hit 60 home runs,
most in the majors?
would he care?
maybe more than ever!



no name

He could have been like the others and joined some wilderness retreat and learned a new pitch, become a converted reliever and revived or rather, started his career. Others had done it, most recently, Edgar Warrbins. The Boise teenager could barely hit 75 on a radar gun, but when he dropped his arm down to the side, he won a few onlookers. Then Edgar dropped it even further, to the submarine zone and the Indy leagues came calling. It made his pitch swerve and some say rise and then quickly fall,  a bit like a drunk struggling to a squat kerplunk to the hard earth. Batters would swing and miss. It was all very unorthodox and highly contagious, but he looked down and then around, at the railroad tracks stretching horizon to horizon. He liked where he was and so he kept to the amateur league course, as a mop up man, throwing ho-hum overhand strikes, inducing fly balls, and eating up innings. He said it was better for his well-being, reminded him of the thankless toil of it all.

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the affectionate one

the thermometer hasn’t changed much recently.
makes the odds of a miracle seem low,

but then last night,
the Brewers were in Toronto for the Jay’s home opener.
the Brewers’ Domingo Santana was at bat.
i forget what inning,
but he stood there and took a bunch of pitches and fouled off a few more.
he does that often.
he looks like a bull fighter not the least bit impressed by the bull pitcher.
i forget how the at bat ended up,
but i felt warmer.
the Brewers won 4-3.


baseball and god

of all the radio broadcasters,
over all the years,
ever since the first transmission way back when,
all of them,
nestled in booths,
owls perched on a branch
overlooking the diamond
describing all the action or non-action;
there must have been at least one
who compared a baseball game to a story
with all its up and downs,
twists and turns,
plots and characters,
but a game is sometimes dull,
so dull
that people fall asleep and
others complain and suggest ways to speed the damn game up,
to make it more interesting and what not
but a story can never be dull or
it’s not supposed to be.
the author struggles to make each sentence sizzle
or maybe they make sentences intentionally boring
as a set up for the ones that explode?
like dissonance and harmony dancing one after the other!
in that case a story can be like a baseball game,
but the author of the game can never be known.


batter x

little league wasn’t for everyone,
but most kids took their shot at hitting a ball,
back alley dares;
windows were meant to be broken.
i forget the kid’s name,

but it was easier for him when the bat was wet.
he shook the lumber like carney lansford,
all spastic and focused,
auburn colored hair,
even when he swung and missed,
he screamed and never stopped,
kicked over garbage cans.
he found a way under everyone’s hood.
he took took us from matchbox cars to the moon,
and even now,
so many years later,
i can hear him whizzing as
another pitch,
another day,
heads our way!