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April 26, 2018 BASEBALL

2 Baseball Poems

Andrew Jones

2 Baseball Poems photo

How Acquired: Dennis Eckersley

1988 Donruss: Traded from Cubs to A’s 4/3/87 for OF David Wilder

By late ‘88 I had mastered
Eck’s three-quarter delivery,
throwing strikes on the corners
against the orange-framed pitchback 
with netting that slowly rotted
in the California sun. 

We suffered through drought 
then: our backyard full of yellow grass 
clumps and soft, fine dirt. 
I honed fielding fundamentals 
on a ground full of bad hops, 
practiced leaping cross-body throws 
in the fashion of Walt Weiss, 
and crafted narratives from names
revealed on cards inside wax packs. 

I played whole games by myself: 
skipper, pitcher, shortstop, umpire,
broadcaster. Each pitch summoned
dialogue and backstory, allusion
and simile. Mental boxscores 
didn’t note wins or losses—
just practice in storytelling, 
just exposure to weather, 
just the constant act of revision.


Reading Baseball Cards

Begin with biography:
dates and coordinates
like an astrological chart.

Note weight and height:
use as evidence to predict
percentages to come. 

Or, read the images
as the tarot set: fool,
star, ace of swords.

Hope for Career Highlights:
a walk-off home run, maybe
a complete game shutout. 

Look out for Trivia,study
the folly of How Acquired
and ensure Contract Status.

Recent Major League Performance:
Seasons line up like interior 
rings on cardboard trees.

Let rows of numbers narrate
the story of 162 games, 
a resume of diamond work.


image: Andrew Jones