Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Few From "Off Season For The Sleepless"

a no-good southpaw with his puss all smashed up

and his arm gone to rubber

all thrown out in spring training

lounging all woebegone in the bullpen

his hat pulled down over his eyes

his head leaning back against the brick

nodding off and gone slack in the sun

with a week’s stubble showing

and his spikes untied

not even slapping away the flies

just resting and waiting

for the seventh-inning stretch to wake him up

or a blowout

when the skip needs somebody to eat up some outs

and the bullpen phone will ring

he’ll get the nod


toss a warm-up session

before trotting on out to the mound

one last time

to take a brand new ball

roll it around in his palm

rub it up and scuff it a little

listen to the hushed mumbling of the crowd

thumb the red stitched seams

and remember what it’s like

to throw a 3-2 cutter

and nail the inside corner

freezing some poor bastard

for strike three

because he never saw the damn thing coming

one more thing

he just might have up his sleeve

like a dream he maybe forgot somewhere around Omaha

when there wasn’t anything better in the world

than lying in the perfectly green manicured grass before a game

while a soft breeze blew

and the sun put him to sleep

just like now

and everything was silent and peaceful

and he was free


shortstops don’t like rain

mud is an enemy to be feared and respected

middle infielders in general try to keep the divots and rocks to minimum

in the dirt around their feet

sometimes taking great pains

getting down on all fours between taking grounders during warm-ups

crawling along like gardeners

smoothing the ground with their palms

sweeping away excess mounds of accumulated pebbles

filling in cleat holes and scooping away other imperfections in the field’s skin

not wanting to get eaten up by a wayward grounder

or hit in the chops with a bad hop

second baseman tend to drink beer alone in their hotel rooms on the road

usually can’t hit for shit

but enjoy the rain every now and again

you can sometimes find them

in the early afternoon

grooming the sienna dirt

or just playing catch with a batboy

waiting for the crowd to show up

spitting sunflower seeds into the wind