Beyond Devotion?

I have watched them at close of day
Streaming from distant places
At my desk, the computer would play
And I could see distant faces.
I have muted the broadcasters’
Trite and meaningless words
Ignoring purported masters’
Trite and meaningless words,
And thought, when I heard sound
Of a commercial I could mock
It was rather strange, I found
What they said when they would talk.
I am certain that L.A.
Is a place where many are cheered
They change, but they still play
Even when things go terribly weird.

And so I spend my days
In ignorant naivety
My nights in the same ways
As happy as I can be.
What voice more shrill than those
Who, over the web or air,
Tell tales of bygone woes
And expect me to care?
This team had won last year
And looked as if on course
To win again right here.
This other came into their force
They might have won fame, it seemed,
At least, that was the fans’ thought.
This other team, I had dreamed,
Were content with what they had got.
They’d been successful for long
But were not satisfied at heart,
For trying can never be wrong,
Each season’s a brand-new start.
So once again they spent,
Although they’d won the most.
This other, their opponent,
Played as if cheered by a ghost.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and autumn seem
Enchanted at each pitch thrown
As they cheer on their team.
We’ll always cheer just as loud
Although the roster’s names range
From rookies to veterans proud
Season by season they change.
The ballgame is cancelled by rain;
We say we’ll get them next season
That one loss will lead to some gain
Without asking if that’s true reason.
The players work hard and strive,
We all try to fend off the fall;
Assuming we stay alive,
The game’s in the midst of it all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a farce of the mind.
Irrational or nice?
That’s for another to find.
Our job’s to cheer all the same
Whether we lead or trail.
If you rally back each game
But nothing more, you’ll fail.
What’s autumn but the fall?
No, not night, but defeat.
Was the death needless after all?
For even when they’re beat
The fans might still keep hope
Even when all’s said and done
Even when the cynics mope:
They know who dreamed and who won.
And what if hope, in excess
Bewildered them till they lost?
Is it just a gambit like chess?
Does every win come at a cost?
I cannot know if I’m right
But I’ll write it out anyway–
Losers dream only by night.
Winners dream also by day.

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.