Friday, August 12, 2005

Ode on the Bench Player

Thou journeyman part time baseball player,
Thou unexpected mid-season call up,
From the bench, you're never the team mayor,
When the coach points, you must nod and say, "Yup":
A bunt, a steal, or to rest a starter.

Thou have returned and are a super-sub,
In right or at either corner infield.
What man can also catch? Art thou the hub?
What mad pursuit of line drives! And pop fouls!
What a lefty threat! What a comeback sealed!

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft hands, play on;
We had no clue you'd be so good at third.
You barehand the ball from off of the lawn:
Thou can hit to the gaps, thou canst not leave

You didn't want to go, you loved it here;
And now thou hast pop along with leather,
We wish you'd bow during thy curtain calls;
Unlikely hero in Wrigley; whether
Remembered or not, it was without peer!

Ah, backup, backup catcher! that can't hit.
You bunt, in front of even the pitcher;
But thou knowst you're only here for thy mitt,
Your time will make Memphis more the richer;
More backup hits! more backup, backup hits!

Forever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
Forever jogging, and forever young;
One momentous hit against your old team,
The crowd is happy, the old scout destroy'd,
With the walk-offs this home run is among.

Who on Earth is that out there in left field?
To what green altar has this phenom prayed?
You nicknamed yourself, but thy bat does yield
Many hits. With all the drives you have made-
I can now see thou can't run the bases.

You knew you were playing second fiddle
To a kid. And now thou art the starter?
Maybe you can't pick a guy off of third,
But thou can catch a ball down the middle.
Being on this team will make you smarter.

O the elder statesman! O third base coach!
The signals, windmills, and ignored stop signs,
Your utility is beyond reproach;
We all know what you did between the lines:
You really must be the next manager!

When old age shall those superstars waste,
Thou shalt remain, not in pursuit of dough,
We shall sit as fans, rapt, to whom thou say'st,
'Baseball is truth, truth baseball, —that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

-Apologies to John Keats, who is dead

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