Opening Day

For some,
it means baseball –
as if baseball
were a good thing.

For me,
it means that it’s not
football season,
and soon,
it will no longer be
hockey season
or basketball season.

*     *     *     *     *

Opening day means
that baseball fans will now start to
come out in droves on game night
to clog the expressways during rush hour,
adding a half hour to everyone’s commute,
causing a mother to miss the
birth of her first son
via surrogate,
causing a father to miss his daughter’s dance recital,
leaving the poor young girl feeling betrayed and empty –
an emptiness she will attempt to fill by
covering her body with tattoos and dating

And these baseball-lovers, the driving force
behind the break-up of the American family,
will have the unmitigated gall to
wear their baseball hats,
the audacity to brandish their baseball decals
and their baseball bumper stickers,
and fly their baseball window pennants,
and as you sit behind them,
these people, all listening to the same
pre-game show blaring from their radios,
you wonder where it all went wrong –
how there could be so many people
who would not only voluntarily
attend a baseball game but
actually PAY MONEY for that “privilege?”

And these great crowds of drivers,
will push traffic to Jam-factor 10,
and will bring all traffic to a total and complete halt,
and by doing so will delay impede ambulances off on urgent calls
to and from those at deaths door,
to rescue the man who is valiantly clinging to life
after a myocardial infarction,
the woman who has suffered
a hemorrhagic stroke,
the freak who has shoved a red
Xfinity Triple-Play stress ball
deep up his ass which has had the effect of
pushing up the first two already in there
far beyond the point of retrieval without medical intervention,
and many a good man or woman
or freak of the triple stress ball rectal implantation ilk
will be lost because of baseball.

*     *     *     *     *

And opening day means that the heat will come,
and with the heat will come the drought,
and with the drought will come the famine and the
rampant and uncontrollable wildfires,
and with the rampant and uncontrollable wildfires
will come great conflagrations
spreading out across the plains,
spreading down across the hills of California,
engulfing homes,
engulfing food trucks,
engulfing homemade deer hunting shacks,
and those lucky animals that are not engulfed
by these the great fires
will surely die of thirst in the drought
or starvation in the famine.

*     *     *     *     *

And with opening day will come the mosquitos,
and with the mosquitos the crickets,
and with the crickets the frogs and toads,
and with frogs and toads will come the horse flies,
and with the horse flies the man-eating raccoons,
and with the man-eating raccoons the
the fleas of the man-eating raccoon,
and with the fleas of the man-eating racoon
the plague carried by, and unique to,
the flea of the man-eating raccoon,
and many a good man and woman,
and many an innocent child will die from
the plague emanating from the first pitch
in the Majors.

*     *     *     *     *

And opening day means
the foul stench of death
will rise up from the subways,
will rise up from the dumpsters,
will rise up in the creeks,
will rise up from the county sewage treatment plant,
will rise up in the places that smell,
like death in normal times
but now smell even more deathly
due to the fact that baseball is now being played,
and death and pestilence will hang
over the land
until NFL training camps open
the last week of July.

*     *     *     *     *

And opening day means that children,
smart children, intelligent children,
children who though merely 8,9,10 years old
have the capacity to cure the diseases that have stumped
our so-called finest minds for decades
if only these precocious, pint-sized Jonas Salks were given
full and complete access to a major medical research facility,
these children, rather than spending their summers curing cancer
or writing precocious letters to the director of the
Duke Medical Center beginning with the lines
“I read your colleague’s recent article in
The New England Journal of Medicine
and the utter paucity of insight, imagination and results
makes me want to rent my lab garments over what the peer review
system has come to in that little rag.
My name is Jimmy Wilson,
and I am here to save your institution from its continuing barbarity
in their field of Intracranial Stenosis…”
these children,
the potential saviors of our race,
will NOT be writing such letters.
They will be brainwashed by an
insidious introduction to “the thinking man’s sport”
so-named because there is obviously
so much empty space
where nothing happens
one can only think
“why am I watching this?”
These geniuses, these children who would
become the Babe Ruths, the Willie Mays,
the Pete Roses, the Lenny Dykstras,
the Jose Cansecos, the Mark MacQuires,
of their respective scientific fields
will be told to stand in the outfield
and shag some flies
or head out to short and take some grounders
or stand at home plate for some BP
and when game time comes,
these children,
these children who haven’t yet succumbed
to the drought or the famines or the wildfires or the plague,
the majority of them will die from sheer boredom,
dropping dead right there on the spot,
generally in the 4th, 5th or 6th innings.
The lucky ones, the ones with an instinct to survive,
these children will simply throw off their gloves
and turn to the outfield fence with a vacant stare
and begin walking towards it,
and despite the pleas from parents and coaches
and umpires,
will hop the fence
and continue walking
and begin a lifetime of wandering
trying to get as far from baseball as possible –
and they will never be heard from again.

And parents who in their heart
are football fans
or hockey fans
or basketball fans
and knew that signing their
son or daughter up for little league
rather than let them spend all available free time
doing important scientific research
in makeshift labs in their basement,
complete with homemade centrifuges
cobbled together with parts from
old lawn mowers and re-gifted cuisinarts,
these bereaved parents will go to
the league commissioner
and scream at him, plead with him
as if he could make them come back
“Why? Why did we sign him up?
Because it was the right thing to do?
We thought it was the right thing to do.”
And they will look into his eyes imploringly,
as if he could absolve them of their guilt.
“It was the right thing to do? Right?
Please tell us it was the right thing to do
Please. Please. Please.”
And both parents will break down in tears,
laying their heads on either
of his shoulders, sobbing violently,
and the commissioner can only
pat their heads and say,
“That’s OK. You did the right thing.
This isn’t the first time this has happened –
and it won’t be the last.”
And tears will well up in his eyes
as he gazes at the flagpole in left center
near the spot where all three of
his own sons took off on the same journey
and disappeared –
never to be heard from again.

*     *     *     *     *

opening day.
For some, it means
baseball –
as if baseball were
a good thing.

For me it means
baseball –
and that is the obvious problem.

The Only Thing Worse Than Watching Baseball

poem: the only thing worse than watching baseball

The Ballad of Bill “The Bunter” Hobson (A Spectacularly Undistinguished Practitioner of the Art of Professional Fisticuffs, Who Nevertheless is Remembered as a War Hero)

baseball player v. boxer

It was just in Bill Hobson’s nature,
before he was even a runt,
why, before he even learned to walk,
he’d taught himself to bunt.

He showed little interest in grade school.
His teachers found him as a student wanting.
He’d do no homework, but every day in his backyard,
for six hours after school, he’d diligently practice bunting.

He made the freshman baseball team,
but he gave his coaches a fit,
for Bill insisted on bunting – no matter what the sign –
as a way to get a hit. (He never did.)

Tossed off the team for insubordination, next fall, he tried out for football.
The coach showed him how to punt it,
but instead of catching and kicking the ball,
Bill Hobson tried to bunt it. (It will come as no surprise that he did not not make team.)

Bill got a job as a night watchman.
After he’d made the rounds and checked all the locks,
he would spend the rest of the night
practicing bunting out on the loading docks.

Late one evening, a gambler spied Bill,
said to his partner, “Look at that schmuck.”
His partner said “He doesn’t look like a fool to me,
He looks like a stroke of good luck!”

And so the boxer Bill “the Bunter” Hobson was born.
Of his prowess at fisticuffs the gamblers would sing
as they’d travel from town to town, get Bill into a boxing match,
then bet the house of the other guy in the ring.

His head it was battered.
His jaw it was shattered.
Across his tattered baseball jersey,
his blood it was splattered.

His eyes black and bruised,
but he never felt used,
for if one’s calling is bunting,
one’s life can’t really be choosed.

Then the Great War in Europe broke out (version II).
Bill was drafted and sent to the front.
It was at the Battle of the Bulge
that Bill made his most famous bunt.

​A German soldier tossed a grenade at his platoon’s foxhole
It hung in the air, everyone thought in that instant, “My God! We’re done for and that’s that”
but Bill saw the grenade as a baseball,
and bunted it with his bat.

And even though Bill “The Bunter” Hobson was a failure as a student,
could not even stay on the baseball team,
never stood a chance at making the football team,
never became a doctor or a lawyer,
and although his lack of prowess with women was up until this point
not heretofore mentioned, one can only imagine,
and his total number of wins as a professional boxer amounted to zero (0-533 to be exact),
when it came time for his final out,​
Bill Hobson died a hero!

So it doesn’t matter if you reach first base,
it doesn’t matter how many runs you score,
in the town square of Rosemont, Ohio, is a statue
erected in honor of “Bill ‘The Bunter’ Hobson – a Hero of the Second World War”

Baseball Analyst Tim McCarver on the Decline of Church Attendance by Roman Catholics in the U.S.

The Catholic Church
in America
seems to be
facing more
at the plate,

but they
insist on
on the mound.