Canvas of a Season

The first bright streaks are quiet now. Above
The brash background, the paintbrush sinks into
The paint. This is just the beginning of
The season. Time for layer number two.

It won’t look like this when the year is done.
Most paint will cover over what’s below.
The topmost layer will display who won,
And only what shines through will let us know

What else took place. X-rays might let us see
Archives and dry box scores. But from a glance
The peaks and valleys will be brightest. We
Might forget what’s partly just random chance

As it’s overpainted. But that is how
All seasons go. We’ll enjoy the streaks now.

Life, The Universe, & Everything

I’m too young to reflexively sigh upon seeing “4/15”. To be honest, it inspires me to smile; it’s been twenty-four months since my first-ever blog post went online. Life now is different from how things were in the spring of ’07: in some forms better, in some forms worse.

I come with, not some overwhelming question, but this simple inquiry. Does “retire” signify “to tire for the second (or third, or nth) time”? No, to be honest. Definitely not in the sense of putting new tires on one’s bike, or opening your trunk to dig out tire #5. If it did, “unretire” would be even more confusing. “To be restored for the nth time?” Renewed in energy, with the power of returning once more? Well, why not?

Retiring numbers is just one tiny bit of the bigger process of glorifying bygone legends. Nothing inherently wrong with this–I couldn’t come up with someone who deserves recognition more, nor do I desire to. This implies nothing of consequence, though.

Numbers drew me to this sport, series of them in the news. When you get down to it, though, selecting uniform numbers tends to be uneventful. Tributes to one’s idol or one’s hometown, but surely no jokes13. It’s not some set of true records, in the end, just one more process by which we identify the people on the field. For me, digits tend to be not so difficult to remember, if my only other choice is truly seeing someone else.

So by giving everyone this one number, is the intention to tell the world “everyone is meritorious, everyone is worthy, no ridiculous judgments here”? Or is it to tell us “everyone is one entity”? The intention, I suppose, is benign. But it’s not quite enough.

But questioning is good, if only since the other option–not questioning–is worse. So I’ll keep on questioning, protesting if I feel like it, & wondering. It’ll be enough, out of necessity if nothing else. I won’t find simplistic responses.

Or, I will find one, but I won’t know I’ve found it despite it being everywhere on the field, utterly impossible to miss.

Cubs 4, Rockies 0

We saw his breath as it soared from its mouth,
Too personally. The camera zoomed in
But they cut elsewhere after things went south.
(Not very far, though. He still got the win.)

We sighed a little after the bid failed,
Wishing we could share the triumph, despite
Having flinched when we’d seen his breath exhaled.
Sharing can be a dream, or not feel right.

Only after the hit, and when they took
Him out, did the fans clap the loudest. I
Wasn’t too surprised, as I tried to look
At them, but something else had caught my eye.

The stands’ camera couldn’t have been the main
One. Its image was blurred. I stared at rain.

The Pretend Winter

Three down, one hundred sixty-one to go. Or more, if we’re lucky. Only three down, but I quickly return to my routines. Going to sleep listening to WGN, my wrist circled in blue. Following the Twins on TV, cheering the single poked beyond the infielders to win it like I did in September.

On the South Side, it snowed.

During the third Cubs-Houston showdown, I woke in the eighth inning or so…I think. If I did sleep, I didn’t sleep long. I returned there before the end.

MLB.com greets me when I open Firefox (Internet Explorer, too, though I don’t do so very often). There, tonight, I noticed the picture of some rookie I didn’t recognize. Recognizing people is difficult enough for me in legit life; I know very few pros just by sight. But I don’t even know lots of them from box scores, even modern heroes. Long-gone legends? Sure, I’ll remember them from books.

Still, I doubt I’ll be judged for not knowing such rookies. Not yet. In time, who knows who I’ll grow to know? For everything I know, most of this week’s phenoms will sink to the minors, forgotten but struggling on. For everything I know, he should–

There is no “should”, I know. No destiny. Just week following week, month following month, until the sport itself shows us not the “should”, but the true “is”. I go to sport looking to get out of the bitter world for three hours, plunging into somewhere of endless optimism. Except sometimes one world plunges into the other. My corner of existence is littered with broken hopes. I don’t know how to mourn for someone I never met, but I do know how to grieve for being in the wrong spot, the wrong time. It shouldn’t be like this.

But “should” is powerless. It is how it is. On some level, I ignore it.

On this one, I don’t.

First Day

In a park that had rain push back a championship, 2009 starts.

I wait a day for a wind-blown win for my squad.

A fraction of an hour to my north, a countdown is on until an outdoor stadium can host play.

And on Palm Sunday morning–and I thought April Fools’ Day was bad!–I got up to find snow.

Happy 2009.

———

Stepping out of lipogram-mode, I point you towards The Baseball Chronicle, an online magazine of baseball storytelling. My first contribution can be found here. If you’ve come from the Chronicle, welcome and thanks for stopping by! I also link to the site from my sidebar.

Yankee Stadium Exhibition Opener

Precariously perched between the spring
Of simple fantasies and the real thing
Becoming more peerless with every day–
Can I criticize an excuse to play?

I watched it on the computer, full-screen.
The scoreboards I’ve  seen look much like this. Bright
Garish ads with limitless width and height.
The game filled the screen, and usually worked.
But sometimes it jerked and blurred, like it had
Been magnified too far, like that was bad.
Four-four in the fourth inning. Fours could not
Be wild, I’d thought. Too big for the game
They might repeat–but it is not the same.