Monday, December 16, 2013

The Stolen Base - baseball drabble

The next baseball drabble is about a runner attempting a stolen base. Enjoy and feel free to critque as well.

 The Stolen Base 

Since the manager says I have my own green light, I am indecisive. Do I run on the pitch or do I hold back? This pitcher is lazy. He isn’t even looking over toward first. He doesn’t know I am taking a big lead. He doesn’t know I have second base already stolen. Fool! I see his foot slide toward home plate. That’s my cue! I take off like a shot, churning toward the shortstop. He isn’t looking either. He is watching the ball arrive. It’s much too late. I slide, dust off and think “Mission Accomplished.”

Sunday, December 15, 2013

First drabble - The Intentional Walk

This is my first attempt at writing a drabble - a short story of exactly 100 words.   I got the idea from a Facebook group of short story authors and they encouraged me to just write something.   I did that by just starting to write about one at bat that ends up as an intentional walk.  It was so close to 100 words that I decided to rework it slightly and the final result was this story.  I hope you enjoy it and any comments, good or bad, are welcome.   

The Intentional Walk

Approaching the batter’s box, I felt a surge of confidence.   We had two on, no outs, trailing by one.  It was my time to be a hero.  We were going to win because of me.   I stepped in, did my three half swings and waited for the pitch.   I saw the catcher stand and move two steps away.   WHAT?  The pitch was a half speed lob and caught easily.   CAN THIS BE HAPPENING?  The scene was repeated three more times. Dejected, I tossed my bat and trudged to first base.  My best shot was now lost forever.     

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Poem: "What's the Fuss?"

The finish of the Alabama-Auburn game left me, as well as every other college football fan who saw it, in a state of shock.  I was going crazy, talking to the TV, yelling - and I didn't have a rooting interest in either team.  If this took place just a couple years ago, when my interest in college football was at its all time low - I probably would have recited this poem.   It is one I wrote at the start of the season a couple years ago, when I had little interest in the game.   Reading it now, it is amazing how much my attitude toward the game has changed in just two years.  For those who are not fans - maybe you can relate.  No matter what your level of interest may be, I hope you enjoy this poem.

What’s the Fuss?

On many school campuses
All across the land,
Saturdays are far from quiet
For you can hear the marching band

Playing the fight song
For young men in pads
Performing a sport for the masses
Who are cheering these lads.

Soon they are in battle mode
Even if it is just a game
For they are the warriors,
Don’t ever call them tame.

They run on green grass
Marked with white stripes
Just to reach the other end,
And it appeals to all types.

When this run is achieved,
The masses yell “Touchdown!”
Yet the man was not touched,
And he certainly didn’t fall down.

So why all the noise,
Why does everyone go crazy?
Heck, on my Saturday
I would rather relax and play lazy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brief Flight of Freedom

Flash fiction piece about a piece of equipment used in America's most popular game.  If I say any more I will give away what the story is about.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Brief Flight of Freedom

Getting stuffed into a cramped box without much room to move or any light for several years can make one reflect on what happened in the past.  That is what I have been doing for a while now as that is my predicament.  I was so happy and free for a brief time.  It was long ago, but it was exhilarating.  In fact, rehashing that event is what has kept me going throughout this dark period.

It started two years ago. I was in a box then, but in much different circumstances. There were twelve of us who all had the same shape, size and skin. Everything about us was the same, down to the placement of the league tattoo across our midsection. We were tightly packed but we knew that soon we would be free. We would be outside and in fresh air.  Each one of us in that box knew that we would soon find a better fate.

I was lucky that my turn came quickly.  As soon as all twelve of us were free, I immediately met someone.  He was a stocky man surrounded by thousands of screaming people who seemed so far away. There were a few people close by him, but they paid him no attention. The only person who did was another man wearing black and white stripes. 

He placed me on the cool grass where I felt totally relaxed. That didn't last long, however, as a pair of HUGE hands wrapped themselves around me. Then I was violently jerked back into another pair of hands.  These, however, were much smaller and smoother.  But yet again, I wasn't held too long, as the man with the smooth hands threw me in the air.

He must have had a magic touch because I experienced an once-in-a-lifetime feeling.  I was flying through the air.  I was spinning so fast I was dizzy.  I was moving at a crazy speed.  I hoped the feeling would never end. But alas, it did.

This ending was just as bizarre as the flight.  Yet another man’s hands stopped my flight.  I was clutched in his grip, then held aloft and slammed to the ground. The contact didn't hurt me. In fact, I bounced right off the turf and into the arms of someone else. He was surrounded by many others who were clamoring to grab me. How did I become so popular?

This man was the last human contact I had.  He held onto me for a long time, and then walked me out to his car.  Inside the trunk there was a box.  Then, just like in those bad crime dramas, he tossed me in the box, locked his trunk, and promptly forgot about me. 

I am not complaining, however.  No matter my final fate, I certainly have had a better life than most footballs could ever dream about. I am just glad that I had my moment in the sun.  Sun…that sure would be nice to see about now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A poem on an abandoned stadium

I wrote this poem when I was reminiscing today about a fateful day.  Just after the Metrodome opened in 1982, I snuck into the old stadium where the Twins and Vikings play, Metropolitan Stadium.  We called it "The Met" in the Twin Cities.   Well, that turned out to be quite an adventure so I decided today to write something about it.  Not a bad way to kill a few minutes at lunch time.  I hope you enjoy this poem.


There I was, standing on the field
Just the dreams to which I was about to yield
On top of the pitching mound, just like Kaat
Peering at the catcher, aiming for the spot.

Yet just as I was about to throw that pitch
I heard a lock click…son of a bitch!
I dashed from the mound and into the stands
Then up the stair to the gate, saw the man’s hands.

In them were keys, the ones to the park
When he looked back, he said, “Tough shit, Mark.”
When he walked away, I glared through the gate
Locked in a stadium – what would be my fate?

I knew right away where I might try
To get out of here, but I needed to fly.
To the bullpen I raced, carts did I stack
On top of each other, on the warning track.

I climbed up the pile, looked over the wall
Saw the parking lot, empty except for a ball.
Hurdled over the fence, took a nasty spill;
Never do this again when I have time to kill!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Minute In the Sin Bin

Just before tossing out an old copy of a writing magazine, I saw this writing prompt: Write a short story of 500 words about one minute in time. At first I was perplexed. But then an idea hit me to write about a hockey player who itching to get out of the penalty box during the last minute of his penalty time. Spent the lunch hour today writing that thought out, which came very easily. So, what better place to share this impromptu story than here? Enjoy "A Minute In the Sin Bin".


As the whistle blows to signal another face off, I am still mired in a tiny cubicle. The penalty box is a place I never visited before tonight. Now, with the scoreboard flashing 1:00 under “Penalty”, I sense that I could finally rid myself of this claustrophobic sensation. How could those guys who accumulate over 300 minutes in penalties each season stand this? Why do they want to come back here again and again? 

I never wanted to come here. After all, if you are sent here by the referee, it means you were caught breaking a rule. Jeez, I have to stop whining about this. Maybe then the time will go faster. Let me glance at the scoreboard – 0:55. 

Only five seconds? I better try another way to get this sentence expired. Instead of stewing, I’ll watch the play in front of me. This is a great game tonight. Many fans paid hundreds of dollars to see this, and the view isn’t as good as mine. Yeah, that’s an idea. Maybe by concentrating on watching our goalie Smitty perform his magic the penalty time will be killed faster. There goes a shot - wow, how did he keep the puck out of the net that time? How much time is left? A glance at the scoreboard produces a much better result - 0:35. 

Okay, so concentrating on action has helped pass this sentence faster. It’s amazing how a two minute shift on the ice is over in the blink of an eye, but a two minute penalty takes forever to complete. Not that I ever knew about this penalty stuff, since this is my first penalty ever, but I know torture during a game and this is worse than any check or hit I ever received. Another glance at the scoreboard reads 0:20. 

I am getting closer to the end – thank God! I better concentrate on the game again, since I will be skating into the middle of the action. When I do get out, Jones will be on the ice. Since he is out there for them, it makes me even more impatient. Jones is the reason I’m here, the son of a bitch. The little pipsqueak whacks me on the back of my knees, and even though I crumple to the ice, the ref doesn’t see it. Oh, no, but when I get up, skate over toward Jones, and give him the same treatment, THEN that blind jerk of an official decides to raise his right hand and penalize ME! Dammit, how much time is left? The scoreboard reads 0:05. 

Finally, I can see the end of this misery. The guy who opens the door to this hell hole is standing up. This means my sentence in purgatory is almost done. Where’s Jones? I’m gonna find that sucker and... 

I hear the sound of a latch unhooking. The door is open and I am free! That last minute in the sin bin had to be the worst one in my life. I am going to search out Jones since he suckered me here. Ah, there he is. Look out, Jones, here I come….

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

9 vs.18

My favorite golf course closed at dusk this past Sunday. Since it was my last weekend to play there, I couldn't decide whether to play a nine-hole round, which is what I usually play, or eighteen since it WAS the last weekend. The back and forth that ran through my mind inspired me to write this short essay about it. The first of what I hope will be many passages on the games we love that I create and share with you.

9 vs. 18

It is said that golf is a mental game. This is true not only on the course, but also for any other aspect of the game, even when the decision is whether or not to play. I realized this little bit of wisdom on a recent afternoon.

I had only one thought – play golf! But then the mental torture of deciding how many holes to play began. More thoughts went through my head than when I am trying to decide whether to use a 5 iron or a 6 iron from 175 years away. The following is a transcript of my mind battle for this impromptu round.

“If I play nine holes, my wife won’t be upset since we’ll have the entire evening together.”

“Yeah, but how often do I get this chance? Play eighteen!”

“But it’s cheaper to play only nine.”

“So? You just did the finances – don’t go cheap! Enjoy the game!”

“I enjoy any golf I play, no matter how long the round."

“Weather’s great, I’ve got the time, money and permission. What’s the friggin’ problem?”

“I am not sure about eighteen. It may get dark before I am done with the round. I may be too tired to walk eighteen, and… “

"Oh, stop! Enough excuses. You want to play right? Just go to the course, see what it’s like, and go from there. If you want to play nine, then play nine. If it is eighteen, then play eighteen. Sheesh!”

It’s a good thing the other mental aspects of golf don’t weight me down as much as this mind battle did. Finally I stopped arguing with myself and did what I do when faced with that 175 yard shot. I made a decision and stuck with it, the other voices in my head be damned.

There is another mental aspect of golf that is fascinating. It can change the entire personality of the player. A normally upstanding person can curse a blue streak after splashing a ball. A normally introverted person will do his or her best Tiger Woods fist pump after sinking a long putt. A man who will usually fight off trying to commit to any type of decision will hear everything about all possibilities once in his head, and then make a decision.

That last description is my golf experience and it is why I love to play. Sometimes a person has just got to change and that is possible for me on the course. I am converted from my normal wishy-washy mode to a determined, focused player. The scores may not show it, but the change is clear and will translate into other aspects of life as well.

Oh, the result of the inner argument? I played nine holes and had a 175 yard shot in which I used a 5 iron and placed the ball 20 from the flag.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Real life sometimes gets in the way some circles some will call it a failure.  In others it is an opportunity.  I am calling it the latter.  Real life got in the way of writing poems for all 30 baseball teams so they won't be done by the end of October.

So, the natural solution is to keep on writing!  Starting in November there will be a regular post here on something to do with sports...any type.  Eventually all 30 baseball teams will be covered, but other types of sports and writing will be shared here as well.

For those who have followed this blog ThAnk you for your support and kind words. For those who stumble upon this, welcome and come back for more.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Milwaukee Brewers

Today, the Milwaukee Brewers are up and I am trying something else with this one.  I am adding a narrative about some of the items mentioned in the poem to help those readers who are not baseball fans.  Let me know what you think, and thank you for reading.

Beginnings were humble in the Pacific Northwest

Rainouts were common, the team was not blessed

Enter baseball’s big shots, who ordered a move

When the team shifted to Milwaukee, it had a lot to prove.

Everyone watched as this franchise was able to keep

Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, two Hall of Famers

Stay put in Wisconsin, the fans’ favorite big gamers.

The Milwaukee Brewers began as an expansion team, the Seattle Pilots, in 1969 and played one season in Seattle.  The franchise nearly went bankrupt and was ordered to find a new place for the 1970 season.  Bud Selig led a group of owners who moved the team to Milwaukee.

Championships have been very few – the team has only one league championship, an American League pennant in 1982. The franchise is also the only team in baseball history to change leagues since the American League was formed in 1901.  The team shifted to the National League in 1998, when it was necessary to form a 16 team National League due to expansion.

The Brewers also have had two Hall of Fame players, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, play for them.  Yount spent 20 years in baseball, all with the Brewers, and became the third player to win two MVP awards at two different positions.  He won in 1982 as a shortstop and 1989 as a center fielder.  The other two players to do this were Hank Greenberg for Detroit and Stan Musial for St. Louis.

“Big gamer” refers to players who perform well in pressure situations.  Yount and Molitor were noted to do this.  Molitor still holds the record for most base hits in a World Series game when he collected five hits in game four of the 1982 World Series.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Houston Astros

Today's team, the Houston Astros, became the second team to switch leagues, joining the American League in 2013.  While not included in this poem, it adds to the last line because they are still searching for that first title.  Hope you enjoy this poem.  Thank you for reading.

Amazing hits have been swatted, fantastic games hurled;

Some at the Astrodome, the eighth wonder of the world.

Those achievements, sadly, have not led to a ring;

Reasons for this are many, but they all still sting.

Over the years, Houston has yielded many good teams

So the question begs, when will they fulfill dreams?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Los Angeles Angels

One of the craziest names for a sports team - the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - is today's team. Trying to time a post so it will appear in advance since I will be away for a few days and still reaching the goal of a poem each day in October.  Enjoy this one as well.  Thanks for reading!

Anaheim, California or Los Angeles;

No matter which location was used in this team’s name,   

Great stars have shined like halos for the franchise.

Eternally believed to be cursed despite the heavenly nickname.

Losses and tragedies are now a distant memory

Since the franchise has its long-desired championship.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Seattle Mariners

Bringing back some history today with the poem on the Seattle Mariners.  They have had great players even without reaching the World Series - and this poem highlights some of those players.

Most of the glory for this team

Arrived in a young package called “The Kid.”

Ready for the big leagues at nineteen

Into the adult world Ken Griffey Jr. slid.

Never missing a beat, he was soon an All-Star

Even though the team struggled, but help was not far.

Randy and A-Rod and Edgar then followed suit

Soon to give way to Ichiro, and a hitting record to boot.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kansas City Royals

Spotlighting the Kansas City Royals today with one note of explanation.  The poem is about their struggles of recent years, but it should be noted that they had a winning season in 2013, their first in the 21st century.

Regal and pleasant describe waterfalls
Overlooking the stadium outfield walls
Yet they cannot mask the loyal fan's pain
As another bad season spins down the drain.
Losses pile up again; it wasn't always this way
Since many recall the title in their heyday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Texas Rangers

Doing these poems has not only been fun, but they also have made me do a little research on the history of some teams.  Baseball has such a rich history so that task is fun as well.

Today I am writing about the Texas Rangers, a team that was bad for a long time but is now one of the better teams in baseball.  Hope you enjoy it.

Roaming west of D.C. where they were still wanted
Arlington was where they settled, the mission seemed daunted
Never did they have great players or a great team
Going to football territory seemed like a bad dream.
Eventually they wooed fans with good play and good luck
Reaping the benefits of a new division, rising from the muck
Soon they were league champs, using talent, grit and luck.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New York Mets

Today we are heading back to the Big Apple and highlighting the Mets for today's poem.  Enjoy.

Monikers of this team include Amazin' and Miracle
Even "Ya Gotta Believe" was used as an Oracle
Tom Terrific, Doc K and Straw, to name only a few
Show that the stars have great nicknames too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chicago White Sox

Sticking with Chicago, today's poem is about the other Chicago team, the White Sox.  Another line that begins with X.  Thankfully this is the last one.  Also, the World Series fix mentioned in the first line is something movie buffs may remember.  It was the subject of an excellent movie in 1988 titled Eight Men Out.   Here is today's poem.  Enjoy.

When the World Series fix was outed
Here's the end of baseball, detractors shouted
Indicted and shamed
The guilty players defamed
Enter the era the franchise was routed.

South Side fans suffered, many years passed
One bad season after another, the losses would last
X-rays, however, reveal that the sadness has crashed

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicago Cubs

Today's poem is about one of the most popular teams, the Chicago Cubs.  "Carey" is legendary announcer Harry Carey, the song is Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  With only four lines for this one had to choose the subjects carefully!  Enjoy.

Cursed by a billy goat, playing in a cozy park
Undying love from fans who give the team a spark
Boosted by Carey, who led the grand old song
Sun drenched bleacher bums would sing right along

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Colorado Rockies

Looking out across the river and seeing the beautiful mountains made me think of poetry. However, not being sure that I could come up with one that would be appropriate with my theme for this challenge, I decided to write about the team with the name closest to those images, the Colorado Rockies.  Enjoy.

Rarified air lifting fly balls

Out of the park, over the walls.

Coors Field was where this took place

Killed by a humidor, no more hits into space.

In oh-seven, after so much mediocrity,

Epic wins took place in Colorado’s capital city.

So now the franchise does not garner pity.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cleveland Indians

Continuing with the baseball teams, here is today's poem on the Cleveland Indians.  The "mistake by the lake" is their old stadium.  Now they play at Progressive Field, which was one of the first stadiums built in the current them of "retro" ballparks. Enjoy.

In the cavern called the Mistake by the Lake,

Nary had a fan cared, not enough to stay awake.

Dreary baseball was played here for many years;

In stepped new owners who wanted to hear cheers.

A shiny new park was built, stars were kept instead of traded,

Now this team was popular, terrific, no longer jaded.

Scoring new fans in the process, bad memories quickly faded.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Philadelphia Phillies

Today's poem is about a franchise with an overall lackluster history but it has had some great moments as well.  Enjoy this poem on the Philadelphia Phillies

Players dread coming to Philly; from the stands comes that sound
Hearing the boos cascade from the toughest fans around.
If you wonder why they treat the team in such a rude manner
Losing ten thousand games will rarely produce a championship banner
Leads aren't always safe since losing a big one in sixty-four
Ironically they won the division when the Mets collapsed even more.
Even a franchise as down on its luck like this one
Somehow has great years for at least two World Series has it won.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cincinnati Reds

Today's selection is about the first.professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.  For a long time they played the first game every season to signify this status.  While that is no longer the case this poem pays homage to that tradition.  Enjoy!

Ready every year to usher in a new dream
Every season they play first as the first team.
Dreadful years as well as great ones have been seen
Seventy-five and six were best for the Big Red Machine.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Oakland Athletics

Back on track with the poems on each team.  Today's team is another one currently participating in the playoffs, the Oakland Athletics.  They are often called the A's for short, but that would be cheating I'd I used THAT name for the poem!  :)  Thank you for stopping by and enjoy!

After fifty years of leadership by the great Connie Mack
This franchise was tumultuous, stability did it lack
Having moved from Philly to KC then the east side of the Bay
Losing became normal, expected, the usual way
Ending this slide was eventually achieved.
Thanks to Jackson, Blue and Hunter, wins came many a night
Interest in the team was high as were locker room fights
Champions of the world for three straight seasons
Seen as a great collection of talent, defying rhyme or reason

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A random baseball poem

Admittedly I almost forgot my post today.  A team acrostic is ready and written on paper back in my office but lacking that, I am sharing a short poem on why I love baseball tonight for the day's poem, then back to the theme tomorrow.  Hey, there are only 30 teams and 31 days in October...So this is that one extra poem needed.

A bat, a ball and a glove
Simple tools for the game we love.
Throw a pitch that's called a strike
Hear the cheers as that's what we like.
Three of them will result in an out
Then you will surely hear a shout
For the batter sulks back to his spot on the bench
Feeling like he will drown in a trench.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Pirates

Today's team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even though they are doing well this seqson, they have had many poor seasons recently and this poem reflects that.  Enjoy!

Pittsburgh loves its baseball whether good or bad
In recent years, mostly the latter - how sad
Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner and Stargell, also called Pops
All were key players when they were champs, not the recent flops.
They were "family" in seventy-nine, that memorable year
Even down three to one in the Series, they had nothing to fear.
Since then, however, the fans have been crying in their beer

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tampa Bay Rays

For day #6 of the October poetry challenge, here is another acrostic for one of the teams participating in this year's playoffs.  Enjoy this selection about the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rarely were there dreams and hopes,     

Awful clubs made fans feel like dopes.

Young and old alike have called Tampa Bay home,

Soaring now to new heights at the Tropicana Field dome. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Detroit Tigers

Continuing with the theme of acrostic poems for baseball teams, today's selection is another team in this year's playoffs with a long tradition of outstanding players and seasons.  Enjoy this poem on the Detroit Tigers.

Ty Cobb got it started, Detroit’s parade of stars,

In line were other blessed in the city that builds cars.

Gibson, Greenburg, Kaline, and Cash

Even Trammel and Whitaker, double plays in a flash.

Revered by the city for championships won,

Sixty-eight and eighty-four were years they were number one.

Friday, October 4, 2013

St.Louis Cardinals

Today's poem is about one of the most successful and best run sports franchises, the St.Louis Cardinals.

Crimson-clad fans flock to the games
Always supportive, many gents and dames.
Redbird titles are many, success has been found
Due to tradition of practices that are sound.
In eleven seasons, the Cards were baseball's kings
No other team not named Yankees has that many rings.
All Stars like Musial, Dizzy, Gibson and Smith
Loved to play here and the fame it came with.
Saint Louis baseball tradition is real, not just a myth.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Atlanta Braves

Today's team is the Atlanta Braves and the most famous player who has played for them also figures prominently in this selection.

Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta; each has been a home
Revered and reviled, on different paths did players comb.
Aaron is the best of them, the true home run king
Very gracious and humble, the man and his swing
Even though his number has now been surpassed
Some say the Hammer will never be out-classed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boston Red Sox

Since the first poem of the month was about the Yankees, naturally the next one should be about the Boston Red Sox.  Biggest challenge thus far as I had to find a good word beginning with X for the last line.  But I got one, so here is today's poem.

Rarely does a mythical "curse"
Envelop a franchise like the curse of the Bambino
Did to this team and its loyal fans.

Since it was lifted, however
One can see the fans' passion, like
Xenon flashes that never dim.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New York Yankees

My first poem for the October Poem a Day challenge!  I decided to take my love of sports and use that as my theme.  I then thought gee, 30 baseball teams...30 poems if I write one for each team.  There's the idea and poem each day for one team.  The 31st poem for October will be baseball related but as of now, to be determined.

I will start with the most recognizable team.  Even non-baseball fans know about the New York Yankees.  In that spirit, I am starting the month of baseball acrostics with the Yankees.

Yesterday's legends are famous: Ruth, Gehrig, Berra
Adored by young and old alike
Newcomers strive to do the same
Keeping the tradition alive.
Every year the only goal is to win it all
Even if the other teams are better
Since twenty-seven championships are not enough.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October Poetry challenge

Creating this for the October challenge to create a poem a day.  I have a theme in mind and the poems will be acrostics.   Today's post is simply to set the blog up and link it to the main site.