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Oh, To Be a Center Fielder, a Center Fielder - And Nothing More! photo

For more than 75 years, Major League Baseball has used the same mud to coat each game ball used during all professional baseball games in the United States.


The mud schlepped
from a secret dug out tributary
along the Delaware, where it’s packaged
and shipped across the nation

looking like sludge
in a pudding cup. In stadium
basements, the umpires
unpack canisters, and wring

their gunk-covered hands
around each globe like a villain does
when a plan unfolds around him.
This mud has been in every moment,

every curveball delivered
from the left arm of God,
the called shot, and each
bottom of the ninth strikeout,

or walk-off that kept me up
past my bedtime. When I was young
baseball was in the wheelhouse
of what I understood

people could do with their lives.
But the mud of young
ambition always hardens
into a bank line, or the need 

to buy Splenda and condoms.
Now, I complain America’s pastime
takes too long to enjoy, believe
you can’t trust anyone

who still watches baseball,
anyone who hasn’t broken
his nose on the world

enough to still think
some special mud can change
the result of a game
that’s fundamentally statistics.

Come closer reader, please,
I didn’t mean to insult you. 
I’ll let you punch me
right in my asking face.


image: Sean Fitzgerald