Poetry and baseball have long been good friends. “I see great things in baseball,” Walt Whitman said of America’s pastime to be. Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” is as ubiquitous as the game itself. Ogden Nash wrote “A Lineup for Yesterday”, a poem paying tribute to his favorite players in alphabetical order. I’m partial to the Dizzy Dean entry: “D is for Dean/The grammatical Diz/When they asked, Who’s the tops?/Said correctly, I is.”
In honor of fertile spring’s most sacred pitch and O, Miami’s righteous resolve to confront the masses with poetry in April, I’m bringing verse and baseball together once again in a preview of the Marlins and the rest of National League East before the 2011 season starts on Thursday. In addition to a brief team summary and projected record, I’ve assigned each team a verse (taken out of context, of course) befitting its place in the league. Batter up.
1. Philadelphia Phillies (101 – 61) – By reacquiring Cliff Lee, the Phillies put together a pitching rotation that is arguably (hardly) the greatest in baseball history. Will it be enough to compensate for an aging and oft-injured lineup? Methinks yes.
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender –
it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You may hide in the caves, they’ll be only your graves,
but you can’t get away from the guns!
— Rudyard Kipling, Screw-Guns