(10.15.2015 No.147 —

By Steve Hermanos


He ain’t much of a second baseman,

He ain’t much of a first,

He’s only use at third is to plug his body into a leaking dyke,

Outfield? Forget it;

Earlier tonight,

It was winner-take-all,

Game 5,

Mets Vs. Trolley Dodgers,

With Mets ace Jacob deGrom struggling,

Vs. Dodgers co-ace Zack Greinke—

Looking like a machine with Dutch Boy hair;

Top 4th

It’s Mets 1—Dodgers 2;

Daniel Murphy slaps a single;

Then on ball 4 to the next batter,

Lucas Duda,

Murph jogs to second,

Noticing no one covering third

(Dodgers’ 3rd baseman Justin Turner is loitering near second,

On the Duda shift),

And there goes Murph, racing to third,

Leaving in his wake stunned Dodgers,


First-to-third on a walk! A walk!

Travis d’Arnaud lofts a fly to deep right, foul,

Andre Ethier does the dumb thing—

In a game in which a run’s worth a billion dollars—

and catches it,

Letting Murph tag up,

And Murph easily scores;

Mets 2—Dodgers 2

Ain’t that a boost,

To even the score off Greinke,

When deGrom looked oh-so-beatable;

Top 6th,

Here’s Murph,

Pulling a long shot to right,

Beyond and above Andre Ethier,

Into the stands;

Mets 3—Dodgers 2;

And that’s how it’s chiseled in stone;

The Dodgers, last winners of the World Series in 1988,

Go home;

The Mets, last winners in ’86,

Go for glory;

Pose Murph stealing 3rd on that walk,

Dip him in gold,

And put up a statue in the ballpark in Queens.

(Mets 3—Dodgers 2)

Series Mets 3—Dodgers 2)

—end of poem



(10.10.2015 No.142 —

By Steve Hermanos


Mets 2—Dodgers 1,

Bottom 7th,

Met Noah Syndergaard’s pitching as well as his name’s difficult to spell,

Strikes out Yasmani Grandal,

Walks Enrique Hernandez;

Chutley (Chase Utley),

Phillie cast-off,

On a step downslide from former All-Stardom

Pinch hits for Zack Greinke;

Chutley singles to right, Hernandez to 3rd;

Now Mets manager Terry Collins is taking the baseball from Syndergaard,

And why?

It’s the same stupid thing Dodgers manager Don Mattingly perpetrated yesterday,

Taking the ball from Clayton K.,

And in comes the Round Mound of Superputty, Bartolo Colon;

Here’s Howie Kendrick,

Flair over second on a bounce to Daniel Murphy,

Awkward lob to Ruben Tejada for the force on Chutley,

Who blasts the back of Tejada’s legs,

Tejada flops to the dirt like a Cirque de Soleil performer shot out of the air

by American sniper Chris Kyle;

Tejada holds onto the ball!

Two out,

But the tying run scored and

Tejada’s on the ground, writhing;

And they’re reviewing the play in a bunker in Secaucus;

They’re bringing out the doctor, the meat wagon,

And the geniuses in the bunker,

Deem Chutley safe!

An out is added to the scoreboard,

Chutley takes second,

Tejada’s on the flatbed golfcart, heading to the hospital,

Dodgers fans in delirious delight;

The Dodgers fondle that extra out,

Into back-to-back doubles,

Adrien Gonzalez,

Justin Turner;

Mets fans are sharpening knives, garden implements,

Driving, busing, taking the train-to-the-plane,

Amassing at Kennedy Airport,

Setting up barricades on the Van Wyck,

The Belt Parkway,

Awaiting the Dodgers,

And Chutley.

(Dodgers 5—Mets 2)

(Series tied 1—1)

—end of poem



(10.09.2015 No.139 —

By Steve Hermanos


It should be a national holiday,

4 playoff games,

Each team remaining is battling;

Well, I’ll morph it into my own holiday,

Turning up the Jacuzzi dial,

Moving all my work to next week,

Cabling the flat screen to the nearest tree,

And it’ll be:

9:30 a.m., Rangers Vs. Blue Jays,

12:30 p.m., Astros Vs. Royals,

3:30 p.m., Cubs Vs. Cardinals,

6:30 p.m., Mets Vs. Dodgers;

Yeah—that’s about right;

Cueto and Lackey and de Grom and Kershaw and Lester and Kazmir and Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays),

From Medford, N.Y.,

Who’s gonna shine;


9:30 Bagels,

12:30 Sushi,

3:30 Tea and biscuits,

6:30 Grilled veggie dinner;

Little L.’ll watch some with me,

Maybe Mrs. L. in the hot tub,

The neighbors;

I’ll talk to Kirk in Phoenix,

Text with Adam in Toronto,

And baseball appreciators across the globe;

By 9:30 pm,

The sun having turned half way on its axis,

Zooming through space at 65,000 an hour;

With shriveled skin,

More hair having fallen out,

Full o’ good food,

I’ll think about moving my bones and joints tomorrow,

And thank the baseball Gods right now.

—end of poem



(10.06.2015 No.138 —

By Steve Hermanos


Bottom 9th,

AL Wild Card game,

Astros 3—0 Yankees;

No-name-nowhere Astro Luke Gregerson;

Strikes out multimillionaire Yankee-for-now Carlos Beltran,

The attendees at Yankee Stadium boo;

Can they be called fans,

(Fans short for fanatics)?

No, they’re not fanatics for anything;

They’re consumers expecting a better show

For their thousand dollars,

Their mouths otherwise stuffed with cold shrimp;

They feel ripped off,

Realizing in retrospect,

The cover charge was exorbitant,

For these dancing ladies in pinstripes,

The over-the-hill ex-stars,

The youngsters with no swagger,

The Japanese pitcher who was sexy in Japan;

“This is not the outcome we paid for!”

Oh, remember that old Stadium,

The raucous, reverberating encouragement,

The vibes intimidating opposing pitchers into melting witches,

Remember the D-Backs’ Byung-hyun Kim literally crumpling in successive nights in 2001?

Remember Chris Chambliss in ’76?

I was there,

Game 2, 1996 World Series,

Atlanta Braves’ Greg Maddux slaying Yankee after Yankee,

And we shouted “Let’s Go Yankees!”

As loud as we could,

“Let’s Go Yankees!”

Shook the stands;

“Let’s Go Yankees!”

And after Maddux,

Left his mark of death,

A 2-0 shutout,

Leaving the Yankees down 2 game to 0,

We quietly departed,

As if from a funeral,

Not booing as if departing a bad striptease;

Destiny, Mystique—

Long ago they shook their heads at this Stadium,

Bought a boat in the Bahamas,

And take tourists snorkeling,

Astounding fish

Amidst the remaining reefs;

Tonight, in the middle innings, it was quiet at the Stadium,

Quiet so you could perform complicated surgery,

Get your knitting done,

Do the Sunday crossword;

The Astros made the Bronx their comfy Airbnb for the night

(“How do you guys like the new towels? Soft, aren’t they?”);

And with a Brian McCann grounder to Carlos Correa,

Over to first for the out,

The 2015 Yankee season is now fully consumed,

Amidst boos.

The Astros!


Time to tear down the new Stadium,

And build the old one.

—end of poem



(9.11.2015 No.132 —

By Steve Hermanos

Phillies Phans Phrantically Rejoice!
Not their dead-last .386 winning percentage,
Not the gloom
Of bloaty contracts given formerly-bloaty players,
Of franchise players Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley glamming it up in L.A.

They’re celebrating that the money guys,
Have phinally,
Phired their Rasputin, their Svengali, their Dick Cheney!
The man ruining everything he touches—
Ruben Amaro, Junior;

Now, Ruben Amaro, Junior,
Is no doubt,
Nice to his kids, his wife,
Orphans and kittens;

Formerly a bat boy and player for the Phils,
His father played for them, too,
But as General Manager…
Well, it’d be like me running Apple Computer—
You just don’t want that to happen—

They’re taking the day off,
Philling the bars of Broad Street,
The Main Line,
Down around Independence Hall,
They’re dancing on the Duck Boats,
They’re buzzing ’cross Jersey to hit the beaches
One last time this year;

And though it’s September 11th,
14 years after the worst terrorist attack in
United States History,
At least,
For Phillies Phans,
They can remember September 11, 2015,
And celebrate something good,
Rising from the ashes.

—end of poem



(8.27.2015 No.115 —

By Steve Hermanos

“They chew tobacco?!” the confused child asks.
“That’s digusting! Why do they chew tobacco, dad?!”
And so, revealed to the youngster at this moment:
Baseball players chew tobacco,
The players’ cheeks and lips bulge with the bitter stuff,
They spit brown spit;

How can you, the parent, respond?
“It’s just what they do,
They’ve always done it”;
That’s Exhibit A of the charge Extremely Lame Parenting;

Over here in San Francisco,
The City Council,
Passed a measure to ban chewing tobacco at public parks,
And Mayor Ed Lee stamped it;

Since the greensward abutting the bay,
Is a public park,
The Giants de la San Francisco,
And their 29 opponents,
Will be breaking the law if they stuff a chaw;
This all, theoretically,
Is effectual, Opening Day, 2016;

Yes I’m thinking of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn,
One of the greatest hitters ever, ever, ever,
Hall of Famer,
A chaw of tobacco stuffed in his cheek;
Tony Gwynn fans: 100,000,000
Tony Gwynn haters: 0

Salivary gland cancer,
A face chopped apart,
Chemo, radiation,
More chopping,
And dead from the cancer last year,
Age 54,
You, Tony Gwynn;

Then there’s Curt Shilling,
Former great pitcher,
Current expert baseball commentator and
Ignorant political commentator,
Is getting chopped and radiated
For oral cancer,
Oral cancer tied to tobacco chaws;

Meanwhile Giants superhero Madison Bumgarner
Admits to chewing tobacco since 5th grade;
Giants pitcher Jake Peavy,
When on the mound,
Looks like he’s
Masticating a squirrel;
Maybe 2/3rds of the guys chew, chew, chew,
Spit, spit, spit;

Tobacco is in the soul of America,
The Indians chewed its harsh-sweet, moist leaves, going back millenia;

The Americans did,
As Americans do,
Making it the most valuable export in the land,
Spreading the drug ’round the globe,
Bringing in piles of gold and mansions,
Benefacting museums and colleges;

Spittoons lined the floors of Congress,
(And still do in our Senate),
Spittoons lined bar rails,
Court rails,
Church pews,
Train station waiting rooms,
Sloshed at the end of train cars;

If you worked in a coal mine,
Wheat field,
As a carpenter,
You could shake your pouch,
Into your mouth,
Without dropping dirt on it,
Arrange the burning shreds with your tongue,
Settle it in your cheek or lip,
And get back to work,
Enjoy the pounding-heart, eye-focusing burst—
Count your coins on payday;

On both sides of the Civil War,
A hundred thousand troops chewed tobacco,
Sharpening eyesight, quickening trigger fingers;
After the CW,
When our game spread and grew with the professionals in Cincinnati,
When baseball-playing miners and farm boys were offered dollars
To take their mitts to cities and towns across America,
They brought their tobacco pouch,
Spitting jets of “juice” onto the diamond;

Few people then suspected,
That the stuff triggers cancer;

So now,
With the Mayor of Boston
commending San Francisco’s impending
chewing-tobacco ban,
Where do I stand on it,
The poet,
A guy who’s beaten the Big C. a couple times,
A guy who loves this game?

I’ve seen little league coaches,
Unwind a tin of snuff,
Place a dab in their lip,
Witnessed by gawking 11-year-olds—
If those dudes snap out of their unconsciousness,
By the publicity of a ban,
That’s exceedingly good;

Maybe affixing photos of Tony Gwynn’s
Chopped-apart face,
To tobacco tins—
That might be good;

On banning the stuff at AT&T Park,
Where fog banks of marijuana exhalations,
Drift over the stands, the stands, the stands—
Now if you want to make the case,
That marijuana is less harmful than tobacco, OK,
Make it;

And, I’m good with banning smoking—
Exhaled smoke is nasty for us bystanders;

But an adult chewing,
An adult fully aware of its potential destructiveness?
It’s sort of like illegalizing,
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet—
Who’s that potentially bothering,
Other than the idiot with the wind in his hair,
Atop the bike?

Who is Madison Bumgarner hurting,
Other than himself,
His wife,
His future brood of babies,
His 100,000,000 fans?

In the old days,
The days before television cameras
Pointed into the dugout,
Players and coaches would sit smoking cigarettes;

And if the Chaw Police,
Are gonna sit in the dugout with tongue depressers and pen lights,
Barking, “Say ahhhhhh!”
The players’ll slide down the tunnel to some privacy,
And over by a batting cage,
They’ll set some lounge chairs,
Around a big table,
Festoon it with packs of cigarettes,
And ashtrays;

The season is six months long,
Sprinkled with 2 a.m. plane trips,
Messed-up sleep,
Varying game times,
Nocturnal shenanigans further distracting sleep;

They chew tobacco, son,
Because they are tired, worn, exhausted,
Bone-sore, jet-lagged, hung-over, in pain;

Their steroids and human growth hormone,
Their speedy greenies,
Have been stricken from their lives,
Leaving nicotine;

Or, I guess,
They can pop,
The beans of espresso,
San Francisco’s a coffee town, right?
Men—start crunching!
But boys—life’s too short,
Go ask Tony Gwynn.

—end of poem

* * * * * * *


(8.30.2015 No.116 —

By Steve Hermanos

Who’s Jake Arrieta?
We all know now,
Having just no-hit the Dodgers,
Down in Dodgerland;

Jake Arrieta of the Cubs,
Scuffled on the Orioles for a bunch of years,
Traded in 2013 for Scott Feldman,
You could call him a below-average pitcher until age 28,
When, last year, he
Dropped his ERA to 2.53,
Won 10, lost 5,
And this year:
2.11, 17 wins, 6 loses;

These Cubs are playoff bound,
Now 5 ½ games ensconced for the Wild Card;

He’s up there with Kershaw, Greinke, Bumgarner,
All the best pitchers,
In this age of strong pitchers,
And hitters molded by Pilates instructors;

Jake Arrieta’s emerged from his chrysalis;
Look at him.

—end of poem



(8.02.15 No.101 —

By Steve Hermanos

I’m OK to say goodbye,
36 years after,
your plane demolished itself,
Thurman Munson, man;

Your uniform: 15
My high school baseball uniform: 15
My soccer uniform: 15;

“Why do you wear 15, Steve?”
“For Thurman Munson,
Captain of the Yankees,
Leader to the past two World championships”;
+ my daydream
of taking the field at Yankee Stadium
(If you’d let me take your number out or retirement);

In those olden days,
News arrived
Via radio, TV,
Or paper,
Phones were corded to the wall—
as “Thurman Munson is dead!”
was shouted by
a disturbed neighborhood boy,
So I disregarded the thought
About you;

15 minutes later,
A friend told me,
“On the radio,
They just said,
Thurman Munson is dead;
His plane crashed,
He was the pilot”;

That night,
I did the only thing a stupid teenager would do,
I tried to drink 15 beers,
In honor of Thurman Munson and his number;

Now, in 2015,
No one else in the world
is poring over,
The August 3, 1979
New York Post,
Its Major League standings devoid of
Rockies, Diamondbacks,
Teams from Florida or D.C.,
The Expos remaining the Expos;

You burnt, crushed in the pilot seat,
I’m still awaiting the reincarnation;

The sportswriters despised you because
You didn’t talk to them,
Didn’t care about feeding the press;
Boston’s Carlton Fisk disdained you,
And I met a guy in Boca Raton
Who played with you in the minors,
Who, in the locker room, fought you
And his knee ligaments tore in the battle;

But so what? I don’t care about minor-league ligaments;

September 2, 1979,
Senior year, high school,
I stitched a finger-wide
Strip of black felt
Onto the right short sleeve of
my number 15 soccer jersey—
Copying the Yankees uniforms’ black strip—
The only guy
Running the field,
In mourning;

To inquiring opposing players
and spectators,
I explained, “It’s for Thurman Munson”
Trotting away;

(You want to be a writer?
Start out functionally depressed,
Overflowing with strange ideas,
Then have your boyhood idol

In Spring 1980,
The same scissors
messily cut from the same black felt swath;
The same needle sewed a strip,
Onto the right sleeve of my baseball uniform,
Bury the dead with sewing skills;

And I guess I’ve said goodbye,
To all of your Topps baseball cards,
To every eBay newspaper,
Slicing the package open,
Transporting to
August 2,3,4,5,6,


Too much nostalgia is a bad thing,
I guess;
It can keep one living in the past,
But I like a past of
Thurman Munson tagging out Steve Garvey at the plate,
Thurman Munson making Sparky Lyle a great relief pitcher,
Thurman Munson forging Ron Guidry into a star,
Thurman Munson hitting .476 in the World Series of 1976,
Thurman Munson joyously reaching out to Reggie Jackson after Jackson’s
epic 3rd home run
sealing the 1977 World Series,
Thurman Munson fighting the Red Sox,
Thurman Munson winning again in ’78,
a world of Yankees and John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd and Gilda Radner,
And new girls and new bars,
New paintings in new museums,
New parties, new long late-night taxi rides,
Discoteques and 3 a.m. dinners,
And we’re World Champions again, man!

So, yeah, it’s August 2, 2015,
I am almost old
as Babe Ruth,
when he died;

We’ve got all these,
Technology gadgets;
The game is still the game,
The guys make a ton more money,
Fenway Park is the same;

36 years is a long time,
Isn’t it?