Reflexive or astute to what they’ve known
Ignoring descriptions of what has grown
Knees jerk back from some calls for greater parity
Prizing the glamour made great by its rarity.
Alert, we spoiled by these wild ends!
Perhaps some amends on some funny scale
For those who once claimed this system would fail.
Eight-team playoffs? The kids would grow inured
With drama secured. Well, maybe I did.
Immature, yet too old to be a kid,
I try to track, screen and attention split.
Yet this isn’t it, whatever they say.
At least there will be playoffs yet to play.
And maybe more. So with one ear I am
Hearing a grand slam, the other keyboards’ click.
The data blurs and who knows what will stick?
The kid who jumped to books’ final pages
At many ages, fearing being burned
Still does to check the tone. But I have learned
That this strategy only goes so far.
Whoever you are, you can’t understand
It all till you’ve read what comes beforehand.
The fall before the rise, or rise, for fall.
Some give their all for obvious reasons
And some plan ahead to other seasons
And some dealing with rivals by proxy
Perhaps less moxie in this final spurt?
And some are none of these. Spoilers, alert.
To wish for more wishes, upon a cake,
Seems reasonable, hardly a mistake.
To wish for no more wishes, then, might seem
Ridiculous–but it’s not a pipe dream.
To see the world as parts and not a whole
Is a decent goal. Raindrops, not a cloud,
Mean that many more things can be allowed.
Without reactions to what someone thinks
There’s nothing called “jinx”. Just sit back, spectate
And let the game present you something great.
Announcers mention fragments of the past.
You hope it’ll last, whatever they say.
The rarest feats were ruled out right away;
Less to worry about. The symmetry
Means no one can see what might be in store.
Extra innings, perhaps? How many more?
Every run matters. Bunt if you have to.
Nobody should boo a game that excites
Like this. The present is the present. Nights
Like this should be remembered, win or lose.
Good news and bad news blur with our first hit
But it’s only good when more follow it.
In the end, we wind up with a slim lead
But that’s all we need. Without room to mess
Up, the risk of mediocrity’s less.
Onward. A convenient label is fine
For “zero, through nine”. Stock cliches, like, well,
Cake wishes, or descriptions you can’t tell
About in progress are better than just
An all-in-one “must” with “shoulds” all built in.
But all that they can try for is a win.
(Not “all”, of course. The memories remain,
Thrilling and yet plain.) The win’s not secure.
When you’re not in control, you can’t be sure.
Of what’s ahead. Two outs, and there is one
Cliche still undone. Though still nervous and
Half-hunched-over, a win’s a win, Now, stand.
Sometimes bandwagons come out of thin air.
It’s not the same when pyramids are there.
It’s easier to jump on when they must
Make themselves known, approaching through thick dust.
The faster they rise, the more people climb
Aboard them. But I’m unwilling to board.
Bandwagon-hoppers might not be abhorred
But still they are mocked. It’s easy to not
Follow teams. “They’ve got…I dunno, let’s think.
Um…that one guy. And Mr. …whatshisface?”
The team, I didn’t follow. Yet last year
What little I’d hear drove me to tune in.
It wasn’t about whether they would win
But avoiding anticlimax. To fall
After rising all that way, just to sink?
That wouldn’t do. And then came …whatshisface.
For stories end. Things all work out for good
Just as stories should. But what happens then?
The bandwagon rode on to ’09/’10.
The game continues when the story’s done.
You strive and you run for an hour and
A half–but even then there’s nothing planned.
There’s time beyond what works out nice and neat.
There’s time for defeat. And nobody knows
What’s next. There’s no route the bandwagon goes.
Some will leave, though some very well may stay
For more scriptless play. Honor those who dared
To climb, to fall–but never say I cared.
To chase is not to catch–it is to run
Always in pursuit even if you’ve won.
Catching’s for the defense, but undefended
The title passes on, the season ended.
It would have been little consolation.
The celebration would not be for you
Even though you did all that you could do,
If it was not enough. “What might have been?”
You’d ask, knowing when it ended you were
Impotent on deck. No, those who secure
The win earn this extra honor too. Not
The closer who got the saves, but the bat
That blew the last game so far open that
It didn’t need salvation, takes the prize.
The selection’s wise; the winning runs scored,
And the Yankees’ longtime force is restored.
You’ll find it written in the physics books
The law they call Hooke’s. Things always bounce back.
A derailed decade does get back on track.
Sometimes it’s slow, and many decades pass,
But always the mass goes back where it came.
Even repeating titles aren’t the same
When sines and cosines ebb and flow through time.
The Yankees, sublime, just ebb with more speed.
However, there’s another way to read
The formula. Euler set it up right:
Sines and cosines might as well be the things
That fans love best–imaginary springs.
Sometimes you don’t have to know any more
Than what can be contained in the line score.
It tells you which team won and who they beat
All in proportions neat…or not so neat.
Extra innings stretch their game’s proportion.
Such a distortion requires, it would seem,
One team versus an evenly matched team.
Innings in which one team scores ten runs, though
Shouldn’t feature so similar skills, it
Would seem. These days papers tend to omit
The parentheses that signified them.
Such a hitting gem is visible from
Context, however. And yet there are some
Extra innings where teams score often. They
Have to be away to score so many
And must keep fighting; there isn’t any
Amount they can score to be sure they’ll win.
If they had won in fewer innings, blown
Leads would be forgotten, the game unknown
Shortly afterward. Each chance gone to waste
Was only a taste of triumph. Distort
The linescore to echo throughout the sport.
There are several sports that I understand.
And there is tennis, on the other hand.
There’s incomprehensibility more
To tennis than attempting to keep score.
We joke as we leave, at nine-thirty, two
Sets in. “So do you think it will still be
On when we get back?” Last year it was. We
Assume it won’t be this year, but we’re wrong.
The match is that long. When we come back from
Church, it’s still morning–but only for some.
In Wimbledon, it’s evening, and the game
Evening, the same scores for each man. They
Fight through the sweat, continuing to play.
The aces are high and over the net.
Each serve skillful, yet some errant. But then
They get the chance to serve the ball again.
A nice idea–for third grade volleyball,
I think. Shouldn’t all mistakes have a cost?
Shouldn’t each play help figure out who lost?
But that’s not how the game works. So I watch,
Not minding each botch. There’s forgiveness here
Whether or not I find the logic clear.
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.