Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baseball Poems 9: The Pine Tar Game

I still get angry
when I think about
the Pine Tar Game.

I have never looked at
the sport the same.
It is the oldest,
most meaningless thing
I can think of
that still gets me this mad.

Royals-Yankees, late July.
By then they'd had
seven years of history.
Playoff games, walkoff homeruns
and crying shortstops.
But by now these ancient foes
had sunk to fourth and third.

Gossage was in.
This noble bird
was toiling for save number 12
with only George Brett standing in the way.

Instead of save number 12
Brett hit home run 20 that day.

Or so it seemed.

The bat Brett used ran afoul
of the rules.
He was called out
the score then reverted.

The Royals and Brett
were disconcerted
and burst from the dugout
with murderous rage.

But the umpire pointed
to verse on the page.
It really should have ended there.

But no.

The Royals appealed,
the appeal was upheld.
The rule wasn't one
that was meant to be kept.
I guess it was there
for no apparent reason?

The home run would count.
Later in the season,
they all reconvened to finish off the ninth.
The Yanks took the field with a grumble.

Manager Martin
(never one to be humble)
tried everything he could contrive.
Put a pitcher in the outfield,
first baseman at second
and protested the rest of the inning.

It went into the books with the Royals winning.

And now here we are, nearly thirty years on.
The principles laugh,
both the pitcher and hitter.

But I'm still unaccountably bitter.

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