(7.25 No.96 — http://www.162BaseballPoems.com)

By Steve Hermanos

We’re doing our annual flight into the Boston suburbs,
Visiting Aunt Ellen,
And since the 2015 Red Sox are losing substance,
The fat team almost see-through,
I figure the tix should be cheap;

But no,
For equivalent seats,
I’ve got to dig deeper for the last-place BoSox
Than the second-place Giants;

I was here in 1999,
With Aunt Ellen,
And my buddy Chuck,
The Home Run Derby,
Watching Mark McGwire
Steroidally pumping homer after homer
Twice as high
As the Green Monster,
Cheering as balls clanged the
40-foot Coke bottles,
Halfway up the light towers,
Shot after majestic shot;

Well here, now, July 25, 2015;
“What do you think?” I ask Little L., Mrs. L.,
They like it:
The brick façade, grand yet unobtrusive,
The old ticket booths-turned-shrines
to the winners of pennants and World Series;
The sign: Green Monster Seats
The aromatically-grilled foot-long hot dogs;
The wooden seats;

My $100 per ticket hard price cap,
Puts us in right field,
Reading the autographs on the Pesky Pole;

We look straight across the diamond at fans
In the third-base stands,
Squarely facing us;
If I knew any of those Bostonians,
I’d recognize them without my binocs;

Top of the 1st,
Mrs. L.’s favorite player,
Gone from the A’s
To the Red Sox last year,
Now on the Tigers—
Yoennis Cespedes—
The man with the strongest wrists in baseball,
Swinging Fred Flintstone’s club,
Into a Steven Wright knuckleball,
Zipping above the Green Monster,
Slapping the green Advil sign,
Dropping along the face of the Monster
onto the field;
It should rain Advil,
Every time a Red Sox opponent hits that sign;

Tigers 1—BoSox 0

Bottom 2nd,
David Ortiz slaps a double;
Hanley Ramirez hooks a wicked bouncer
Into left;
Ortiz chugs ’round third,
As hard as his spongy knee ligaments will permit,
Yoennis “Mrs. L.’s Favorite” Cespedes,
Charges the ball,
Twists his body,
Hurls a canon shot towards home,
Old Ortiz choo-chooing,
The ball bounces once,
Into catcher James McCann’s mitt,
Who brings the tag down,
On Big Papi’s big shin,

Red Sox fans protest,
Little L. high fives a nearby fan in a Tiger shirt,
As the umps wait for the replay from Secaucus,
And somewhere nearby,
The spirits of
John McNamara and Don Zimmer,
Dick Williams, Pinky Higgins and Joe Cronin are screaming
At umpires Al Barlow, Ed Runge, George Honochick,
And Nestor Chylak;
Neck-vein-bulging, red-face arguments
Have mostly evaporated;

Now the pixels display,
Ortiz was tagged,
Before his big foot,
Touched home plate;

Pablo, our Pablo,
All grown up,
Pablo Sandoval,
In his Red Sox pajamas;
From the vicinity of the Pesky Pole,
It’s hard to examine our Pablo, across the field at third base,
He retains the hands of Bruce Lee,
But his body…
Somehow he has acquired,
The yams and buttocks and fleshy arms
of Elizabeth Taylor in her fattest years;
and he’s hitting about as well as she did;

Strolling solo along the top
Of the layer of field seats in the cooling shade,
Things concentrate,
The baseball is distilled,
The water of the rich stew is boiling down,
As I get closer to the line of pitcher and catcher;

It’s about 80 rows of seats,
Up from the field,
The fans packed in tight,
In the arc from first to third,
200 columns spread in expanding rays;
The fans studying every feathered nuance;

Smashing a one-hopper to the Tigers pitcher,
Big Papi barely moves out of the batter’s box;
The ball pops out of the pitcher’s glove,
He bends to pick it up, bobbles it bounding towards the foul line,
Big Papi jerks from 1st to 4th gear,
Chugs at first base,
The throw beats him by 10 feet;
These fans boo Big Papi’s lack of effort;

They won’t have much longer to boo the big man,
As he seems to be aging in fruit fly years;

The crowd at every team’s home field
Is its beating heart;
And this scene of booing Red Sox fans,
Contrasts so,
To, say, Le Nouveau Yankee Stadium,
Its scads of close empty wide seats;

Fenway’s are close, full, narrow;

Yankee Stadium’s heart beats,
’Cause cable guys,
Have hooked in
A half-billion-dollar-a-year

Here, today, it’s the fans,
And with century-old I-beams
Supporting the upper deck,
You’re ensconced in a lovingly-cared-for
antique vessel,
Gingerly moving through the days;
Something to be passed along to the new,
When we, the old,
Are buried in a field,
With—hopefully—thick grass growing above,
And children tossing high pops,
Laughing and running,
Making diving catches,
Imitating their heroes,
Impressing friends and strangers,
Away from time;

And our next visit,
I promise,
We’ll sit here,
The field level,
Between 1st and 3rd,
In the beating heart of baseball.

(Tigers 5—Red Sox 1)

—end of poem

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