Friday, September 28, 2007

It's That Time of the Year...

You won't see a lot of sports talk on this site, but I've always been a baseball fan in general and a Phillies fan in particular. A long-suffering Phillies fan, for about 45 years. Most of those years, they were mediocre at best and awful at worst. They had some glory days, too, like the late 70's and early 80's, the heyday of guys like Schmidt and Carlton, and they won their first and only World Series championship in 1980. They've gone to the big dance twice since then, in 1983 and 1993, but lost each time. The last time, Joe Carter of the Blue Jays won the series with a walk-off home run against Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams. I could've cried, and some fans probably did. In recent years, the Phillies have tormented us fans with several teams that have come oh-so-close to the playoffs only to miss out in the last week or so of the season. This year is another nail-biter, with the Phils surging of late while the division-leading Mets have been in free-fall. As I write, they are tied for first place in their division with the Mets, with three games left to play. If they can sweep the Nationals, they are pretty much guaranteed at least a wild card spot in the playoffs. Less than that, and it gets more complicated, though if they win at least two out three they have a shot. A lot depends on the Mets, too. So once again, they are about to either pleasantly surprise us with a come-from-behind finish, or let us down for yet another year.

My friend Lorraine wrote a French-form poem called a rondeau which she asked me to critique. That inspired me to write a rondeau for the long-suffering Phillies fan:

We Phillies Fans

We Phillies fans are used to loss,
World Series hopes so often tossed
like errors in the outfield green
or infield dirt – this flawed machine,
this rolling stone that gathers moss.

And yet it’s true some heroes crossed
the diamond – Carlton, Schmidt embossed
in Hall of Fame – the best we’ve seen,
we Phillies fans.

Too often by October frost
our chance of any title’s lost.
But then there’s ’80: Dallas Green
brought home the crown, and we could preen
and strut around like we were boss,
we Phillies fans.

More poetry news: for the second year in a row, my name is in The Poet's Market, the "bible" of any poet striving to be published. My name appears as a contributor in three journals (Baby Clam Press, Chantarelle's Notebook, and Sunken Lines), and my chapbook, Wire to the Heart, is cited in the listing of my publisher, Maverick Duck Press. It helps to have friends who are editors, LOL. I'm very flattered to be mentioned by them - thanks again, Kendall, Andrea and Paul!

Music: Not much to report - I did download two CD's by Beirut, a band that could best be described as "alternative gypsy" music. I'm not kidding. They have a distinctive Eastern-European sound, with mostly acoustic instruments the likes of fiddle, ukelele, accordion, bass drum, trumpets, hurdy-gurdy, etc. It's fascinating stuff. If you like big-sounding, melodramatic bands like Arcade Fire, the Decemberists, and even Sufjan Stevens' bigger productions, you may like these guys. Get either Gulag Orkestar or the EP Lon Gisland. Or like me, you can get both.

Top Ten List: Pop Songs about Baseball

1. Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen
2. Centerfield - John Fogerty
3. Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio...")
4. Right Field - Peter, Paul and Mary
5. Did You Ever See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? - Count Basie
6. A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request - Steve Goodman
7. Catfish - Bob Dylan
8. Talkin' Baseball - Terry Cashman
9. Cheap Seats - Alabama
10. The Greatest - Kenny Rogers

Go Phillies!!!!

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