Fanaticism?  No.  Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
  You can never tell with either
     how it will go
     or what you will do;
  generating excitement—
  a fever in the victim—
  pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
        Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
        To whom does it apply?
        Who is excited?  Might it be I?
 
It’s a pitcher’s battle all the way—a duel—
a catcher’s, as, with cruel
  puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly
     back to plate.  (His spring
     de-winged a bat swing.)
  They have that killer instinct;
  yet Elston—whose catching
  arm has hurt them all with the bat—
        when questioned, says, unenviously,
  “I’m very satisfied.  We won.”
        Shorn of the batting crown, says, “We”;
        robbed by a technicality.
 
When three players on a side play three positions
and modify conditions,
  the massive run need not be everything.
     “Going, going . . . ”  Is
     it?  Roger Maris
  has it, running fast.  You will
  never see a finer catch.  Well . . .
  “Mickey, leaping like the devil”—why
        gild it, although deer sounds better—
snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest,
        one-handing the souvenir-to-be
        meant to be caught by you or me.
 
Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral;
he could handle any missile.
  He is no feather.  “Strike! . . . Strike two!”
     Fouled back.  A blur.
     It’s gone.  You would infer
  that the bat had eyes.
  He put the wood to that one.
Praised, Skowron says, “Thanks, Mel.
  I think I helped a little bit.”
        All business, each, and modesty.
  Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.
        In that galaxy of nine, say which
        won the pennant?  Each.  It was he.
 
Those two magnificent saves from the knee-throws
by Boyer, finesses in twos—
  like Whitey’s three kinds of pitch and pre—
     diagnosis
     with pick-off psychosis.
  Pitching is a large subject.
  Your arm, too true at first, can learn to
  catch your corners-even trouble
      Mickey Mantle.  ("Grazed a Yankee!
My baby pitcher, Montejo!"
      With some pedagogy,
      you’ll be tough, premature prodigy.)
 
They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees.  Trying
indeed!  The secret implying:
  “I can stand here, bat held steady.”
     One may suit him;
      none has hit him.
  Imponderables smite him.
  Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds
  require food, rest, respite from ruffians.  (Drat it!
        Celebrity costs privacy!)
Cow’s milk, “tiger’s milk,” soy milk, carrot juice,
        brewer’s yeast (high-potency-
        concentrates presage victory
 
sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez—
deadly in a pinch.  And “Yes,
  it’s work; I want you to bear down,
     but enjoy it
     while you’re doing it.”
  Mr. Houk and Mr. Sain,
  if you have a rummage sale,
  don’t sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh.
        Studded with stars in belt and crown,
the Stadium is an adastrium.
        O flashing Orion,
        your stars are muscled like the lion.

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