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April 22, 2016 | BASEBALL, Poetry

Listening to a Baseball Game on the Radio

Thomas O’Connell

Listening to a Baseball Game on the Radio photo

Sometimes late at night, only at night
If I turn on my radio
Fiddle with the antenna a bit
I can pull in WTAM 1100, your AM home
For the Cleveland Indians - not my team
But at least it’s baseball and more often
Than not there is a game on

There is something about listening
To a baseball game on the radio, the blindness
Heightens your other senses
Hearing the minutiae, the low murmurs
And swells of the home crowd
After the crack of the ball meeting the bat

I am getting to know the names
Of some of the players but usually
I have to rely on the reaction
From the crowd to know whether the batter
Drove a line drive deep to right
Or struck out looking

There is a silence that comes with the radio
That is not evident while watching a game
On tv, I sometimes wonder if I have lost the signal
It is as disconcerting as naptime for new parents
Listening at the baby monitor, wondering
But as experienced parents
And radio baseball listeners learn
Buddhists as well, cherish the silence
Between pitches, hearing an airplane
In the distance or the shout
Of a hot dog vendor, return
To your breath, inhaling the sign
From the catcher, exhaling the wind up

Part of the charm is in tuning to a station
From another state, a different market
Listening to the ads for supermarkets that
I don’t recognize, wondering about the reliability
Of the auto body repair shops, not influenced
By the hearsay of my coworkers

The weather forecasts can disorient me
Tuning in with a cup of tea ready to listen
To an opera’s worth of baseball only to find
That the game has been rained out
Not remembering the distance, I wonder
Sometimes aloud – about the weather
“I didn’t think it was supposed to rain
Tonight,” pulling aside the curtain
Relieved that my skies are clear
 

image: James Yates


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