Saturday, August 8, 2009

TC: Baseball & Classicism


File:Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Orphée.jpg

Every day I peruse the box scores for hours
Sometimes I wonder why I do it
Since I am not going to take a test on it
And no one is going to give me money

The pleasure’s something like that of codes
Of deciphering an ancient alphabet say
So as brightly to picturize Eurydice
In the Elysian Fields on her perfect day

The day she went 5 for 5 against Vic Raschi

Orphée ramenant Eurydice des enfers
: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1861 (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

Vic Raschi: 1951 Bowman baseball card

This post is dedicated to Isaac and Oliver


woodman said...

Of course, these are the SAME reasons why I check this post every day. Tom, I've penned only one letter to a famous poet -- in 1976 asking where I might find a copy of Fan Poems. I still have the "spiritual Erlichman" postcard mailed from Alder Rd to A2 offering to sell ($3.00) one of yr "remaining 5 copies." I keep it in the copy that one of the actual Borders brothers eventually found for me and use it every time I have to spell Erlichman. I'm sorry, what was the subject again?

TC said...

Well, Woodman, it's beginning to feel like Old Home Week. You, me, Erlichman, Vic Raschi ...

Once after writing a baseball book called Champagne and Baloney I made a two-minute tv appearance in SF to plug it. The other guests on the show that day were a woman who promised Thin Thighs in Thirty Days... and Erlichman. We sat in the antechamber waiting to appear, no one saying a word.

The phrase comes to mind, "Twisting in the wind..."

By the way, sometime around that same bygone epoch I had a postcard from a customer at Vic Raschi's liquor store who told me Vic loved this poem. That about made my century!

Elmo St. Rose said...

why did I get to go to
Don Larsen's perfect game
in the World Series and sit
over the Yankee dougout.

Dad had connections.

It was a painful day
for a Dodger fan.

Mantle made a great catch
on a line drive in left center
and Furillo, whose hitting
streaks always came late in
the season, and for that reason
was my favorite player as a kid
almost hit one out in right field
which was the short fence

in my lifetime that game has
become in 50 years a classic

and to misquote a phrase
I have found
that a
Classic is as a Classic does
and once in awhile boosts
the daily bathos

TC said...


I understand. Mantle was a god. Furillo was a man. Much easier to feel for a man than a god. Though as a Dodger kid you were predisposed.

Snider was the glider and Reese was the grease but Furillo was the Man.

Once while ushering at Wrigley Field I stood 15 innings in an open breezeway in an April windstorm off the lake watching Don Newcombe duel Sad Sam Jones.

I could watch with utter impartiality because I was a White Sox fan.

The day of the Larsen no-hitter I was at a high school football game, but people had the Series on portable radios so the buzz went through the stands. But you're the only person I know who was there.

(They say if you patched together all the shreds of the True Cross on exhibit in southern Europe, you could build a good size barn out of them.)

TC said...

Well, calling it a no-hitter was bit of an understatement, bred not of deliberate parsimony but of chronic sleep-lack, and consequent diminution of brain function.

Which reminds me, one thing said of Larsen was that he was a total insomniac nocturnal party animal. "The only thing he fears is sleep," said Casey Stengel. And the day he threw the perfect game, his wife Vivian sued him for divorce. An interesting bit of co(s)mic balancing in that, when you think about it.

I remember it was said that some players in the Yankees dugout were breaking the unwritten rule about not mentioning a no-no in progress. Mantle was said to have told them: "Shut the fuck up".

TC said...

Well, in case anybody cares, I've now looked it up, and the person in the dugout who was committing the sacrilege of talking about the no-no in progress was actually the ever playful Larsen himself, joking around it would seem--and it was toward Larsen therefore that the Mick directed his gentle admonition. (There's no record of what Larsen's soon-to-be-ex-wife said to anybody.)