The Radio Fan Watches FOX

Was that Tony La Russa after all?
The glasses look right. I don’t know the eyes.
Was that a slider? Changeup? Or curveball?
Perhaps this would be a good place for wise

Commentators to…maybe…commentate.
They keep silent, cutaway to the same
Fan–wedding ring, hair dyed, breath quick to bate–
That they have been showing throughout the game.

Give me the details that I could not hear;
The red glove, the necklace striped blue and white.
We all are fans and we can all guess fear,
We know what is at stake on such a night.

And beyond night, I’ll try myself to share
The game with others–it’s morning out there.

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NLCS Jottings

How tall must you stand, how far
From this world
Until, as a cloud,
Nobody knows what your shadow is?

Wisconsin. Wisconsin! Unsaid,
Too casual to show up in discussion
(or is it just a constraint pointing my way?)
Wisconsin, divisional champions. Missouri, wild cards,
Though I too can pull away
St. Louis from Kansas City.
An arbitrary imposition–
nobody would claim arbitration
Is arbitrary, if not
Judging from far away
And much that is not just discussions of salary.

Judging in words, if words that sound halfway
Grammatical, can sound broad.
Lash out at a sign,
A stand-in for many similar or
Dissimilar things.
A proxy, a symbol,
A goat.
Or throw off grammar, form, constraint,
Writing for your bright cohorts
Who know with a wink what you want to
(Though you wouldn’t, you know, not in just that way)
Say.

A young man…not so young, not as young
As all who mock. And not as old
As all who stand tall and jab softly.

What can you watch on TV? An at-bat.
A pitch thrown towards a man in a mask.
A batsman, bat in hands, not facing you, not facing
A backstop. So in a right look
At southpaws anyway.
Or a hit ball–a shortstop grabs, runs, throws,
A tiny blur in uniform runs backwards
Towards a far wall, puts his hand up, and?
Anything.

Or it can zoom in, not at action, not at anything,
Just a thing to look at,
A moundsman, light, bill down,
Not looking at you
But how far from far!

Or cut away
To Tony La Russa.
I am not good with knowing
Who is who, who looks how
But now I think I know
Tony La Russa’s staring stand.
I think.

Giants 5, Cardinals 4

What has St. Louis in common with San Francisco? NL squads, towards our point, but first off, an similarity that’s almost obvious (if you know no Spanish, possibly not so obvious, but too bad. Spanish is cool). San Francisco is Spanish for “Saint Francis” (it was originally a missionary town), and St. Louis honors King Louis IX (a saint, shockingly). It was part of “Louisiana” (in honor of Louis XIV) back in Louis XIV’s day.

So, adopting a historical approach, you can pick out a third commonality. San Francisco is now what you might think of if I say “oh, this is a far road trip for Atlantic coast guys, having to go way out to such a faraway town.” Sun motion (okay, our world’s rotation) allows Pacific day matchups to start towards Atlantic night. It’s about as far as you can go.

But back in…okay, not Louis XIV’s day, but not our day, San Francisco had no major ball club. No, a far away trip for NL squads would go to such a far-flung municipality as…St. Louis. (Junior Circuit inhabitants had Kansas City to visit.) With transportation and communication so slow, you could not, as you can now, turn on your radio and go “aha, it’s still light out (or dark out and lights function!) in San Francisco.” Nor could you log on to MLB.com and go “oh, it’s still light in San Francisco, it’s not a night affair, but it’s in inning what?”

And today, you can. And I did. And it was not that day’s champion of duration; such an honor was to go to Colorado vs. Pittsburgh (14 innings, not 12). But–thanks to St. Louis’ marathons last campaign? a possibility to follow Giants during day? such a synchronicity of towns?–that was what I would follow along.

At this blog’s birth, I didn’t know what sort of stuff I would put up but “woo, sports talk!” But I think I was imagining short summary blurbs. “Around divisions: Manny quits, marathon matchups, odd occasions, and stuff.” That didn’t totally pan out–odd occasions, right, but not so much summary stuff. I don’t know what 2011 will bring, and it’s sort of hard to dig through six-plus days’ worth of information to find cool blog topics. But I’ll try to find out.

Scorelessness

I like keeping score. I tend to do so when I’m seeing the sport in person. It helps keep me focused. If I’m lucky enough to witness something unique, I’ve got written proof. Sometimes, I’ve tried putting dots in those little boxes to note the running count. But I don’t do so very often. There’s not much room. Count-counting isn’t big for me. This is fine. Even when I’m content with noting everything I wish to note, there’s much more I could write down to keep score.

MLB.com lets me note lots to do with every pitch. Well, it’s supposed to. Tonight, though, it didn’t show speeds, types, or “Pitch FX” (this isn’t fudging for omission purposes; its true moniker is “Pitch FX”) for every pitch. Not in the New York (NL)-St. Louis contest. I don’t put guilt on their shoulders. One of tonight’s “pitchers” is truly St. Louis’ shortstop; his sub is their pinch-hitter-turned-center fielder.

Even so, I could follow their pitches with precision. If I were in St. Louis, I would’ve most likely kept score. Or tried to. I’d use every column I’d gotten. Then I’d use box score columns, if they were there (I never return to fill in those box score columns). Then I’d squeeze it into the sides. Then…well, I don’t know. I guess I could return to previous columns. They weren’t getting lots of hits, right? Or were they? St. Louis got fifteen throughout the night; the Mets got nine.

But the point is, I would try to keep score. Every out, every inning stretching into the night, everything would count. I’d try to write it down.

“It’s scoreless.”

No. No, it isn’t.

Kyle Lohse stood in left field with Felipe Lopez pitching. Lopez threw one inning without giving up hits. Not giving up hits; so simple, even your shortstop (or guy on second or third) could do it!

Of course, this isn’t true. It might be, for short times. Then it becomes something in itself, some sort of self-destroying prophecy. You could throw shutouts, hold your opponents…without runs, but no-hitters require skill. With, quite often, luck too.

Throwing wildly–or motioning wildly to let runners move up–might help you in some sense. Relieve one level of pressure, preserve the picture of effort expended futilely. The illusion of simplicity–this whole BB thing doesn’t look very good, you know. But you might not need to be good. If Lopez could…will, of course. They didn’t know then. They were “only” in the sixteenth or so, over in St. Louis.

Most other nights, either score would shine out. Tonight, does one eclipse the other? Most likely. But both were still wonderful. To diminish the worth of either by noting the glory of the other is silly, just like deeming something “scoreless” when the score is kept. They will both be kept long into the future.