by Tom Keenan
In high school, for some reason, I thought it would be really interesting to write a long poem about a baseball team. That poem turned out to be almost 700 lines long and almost 5,000 words (I really didn’t date much in high school). It took about four months to write. I am going to start posting it in chunks as I re-edit it. Below is part one of nine and I don’t blame you if you don’t read more than this introduction. Enjoy.
I remember fondly, that warm breezy night into day,
And if that memory is correct, it was sometime in May.
The flow of beer was rivaled only by the ocean tide
As friends dug feet in the sand and pushed all of their cares aside.
The idol talk turned to story telling in artfully crafted prose,
With each trying to outdo the other as ancient scribe foes.
Then, my oldest of friends, began to talk with such deliberation
With word turns and a rhythm and gestures alive in animation.
He was masterful and enthralling, driving all back into the sand,
His narration had grabbed our hearts in it’s nimble hand.
He wove together a tale of baseball and autumn glory,
It gave you the feeling that it was more than a story.
He told of the year 2025’s season,
And I thought, “For what reason?”
(For that was a century ago),
But, I could not say no.
The story he told was of amusing bliss,
And if I remember correctly, it went something like this:
The American League’s exclusive membership finally opened up,
Ending what had been, several years of gossip.
They finally conceded and let New Jersey have a club,
Knowing, full well, that it would be a ridiculous flub.
The New Jersey Elysians was this brand new team,
With unproven rookies and veterans who had long lost their gleam.
With the announcement, every Jersey lady, child and man,
Suddenly became an Elysian’s fan.
For an eternity, these people had waited,
And a major league team they finally had baited.
Oh, how the entire state and surrounding counties all went crazy,
But as surely as tomorrow, their play was sure be hazy.
No one held a prediction of anything but awful
This collection of riff-raff would normally be un-lawful.
Winter finally conceded and Spring training had come,
For the Elysians’ season number one.
But woe is the man who watched the Elysians play,
For that bitter and painful two months and a day.
Anyone who could watch more than an inning would cry,
And the rest of America shook their heads and went,”Oh, my. . .”
There was the washed up starting five,
Who really showed no signs of actually being alive.
One pitcher, Manassy, would throw that wicked ball,
And after travelling 50 feet, to the ground, it would fall.
Grown men would weep in completely shame,
To watch this poor sap pitch a spring game.
Then there was Broderick better known Bill,
Who really had lacked any perceivable skill.
He would always make you laugh, shout, or even moan,
Because he couldn’t get that ball into right time zone!
Then there was Fitz, who really, REALLY sucked,
When he pitched, the batter bobbed, weaved and ducked.
Even when he tried to throw it at a batter’s head.
He would hit their un-swinging bats, instead.
Then the pitches of Lang, you just had to see,
Anybody could hit them, and that included me.
He, by far gave up the highest score,
He holds that record at 94.
Then there was the ace of the staff,
Who made only half the crowd express bewildered laugh.
Devereaux had the best of her teams ERA’s,
10.3 was the low in those spring days.
Jurgatis, the catcher, lifetime stats rivaled the best,
But now his tired old body clearly needed a rest.
Then there was Gottimer, error prone, at first.
The way she fielded a ball, you thought her glove had burst.
But she, by far, had the best average on the team,
A .263, boy, did she gleam.
At second base was a guy by the name Hunterton,
“He is a great batter”, you’d say, when having some fun.
But in fielding, in the league, he was 10th best,
His aggressiveness and leadership never did rest.
Then at short, there was Kyro who was learning to play,
Never missed practice, not even one day.
But he, unfortunately, never really did improve,
Never really got into that hot grove.
At third base, Arrighi’s Gold Gloves numbered nine,
A spot in Cooperstown was surely in line.
But now he was quite lazy and very, very slow,
His 22 years in baseball, and 300 pounds really did show.
In left field was a player by the name of Nick,
Compared to most of the men, she was quite quick,
And she would never let them forget that fact,
Even as she looked up from the warning track.
The other Arrighi was in center and had some speed,
He could steal a base without even taking a lead.
But he had a problem that was such a sad case,
He would sometimes fall on his way to first base.
Then there was Hannum out there in right,
Who was the team’s greatest in slugging might.
His career home runs numbered 625,
But his average, .213, just did not jive.
The manager’s name was Michael W. DeVille,
And, as you might imagine, lived on the Rolaid pill.
To be continued…