Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Can the corny stuff, kid. Either it's good or bad. A duck snort's same as a liner same as a broken-bat single in the box score. Boy, I knew this aging has been, crinalated soul name of Ghirjken, some crazy Swede or Norsky, threw nothing but knuckle slop. Past his prime. Bad Tommy John recovery. Who knows. But God, did he have movement. We didn't bring him in if a runner was on third. Too many passed balls. But this has-been had, what, an ERA under two, in short relief. So what he was a starter. So what the fastest he threw was in the low, get this, low, 60s. Don't matter. Movement fooled them. No spin to read on. Whatever. Either you got it or not. Norsky extended his career a good five years with that crap. Movement. Now show me them new arm angles we been working on, kid.

As the previous fictional account illustrates, I'm Jonesin for some baseball. That perfect little microcosm world of physical finesse and close shaves. Where power is as important as accuracy. I'm one who watches arm angles. One who can read how the ball will carom off the wall just after it leaves the bat. Too bad I never played nothing more than fast-pitch softball. Too klutzy. Too focused on music in my youth. Football's heating up towards playoff time. Then, end of January and I've got a month off sport. I'm much better than the old Antigo days, when I was a Sportscenter junkie and lived and breathed the sports life. The post television at home life means I must escape to parents house or a bar to catch a game. That or the radio. I remember the first year Esther and I were married, 1995, was when I got into baseball big time. The first year post-strike. Sure, I followed the Cubs before, but that year I was fanatical. It was Riggleman's first year. Sosa was just coming into his power prime. He hit 40 homers before a season-ending injury in August. The Cubs finished 77-75 in that strike-shortened year. I only saw a handful of games on TV. Most were on the radio. And that's why the love blossomed. I was forced to use my imagination.

Last few days been nothing terribly exciting. Simple beautiful moments like watching the sun rise over the neighborhood on the way to work, looking up at the ceiling duct work at the YMCA during warm down exercises. Drinking a couple swill Hamm's Golden Drafts after dinner. Sunday night at the folks watched the Packers eke out an exciting win over the Vikings, 26-22, in frigid temps at Lambeau Field. Announcers were horrible, ESPN Sunday night crew, Joe "broken leg" Theismann and two other has-beens. Many a vocal faux-pas, too many references to the chilly conditions. Okay, it's cold in December in Green Bay. Get over it. Good film, though. They got this innovative camera that hangs over the field, offering some unique perspectives on plays.

Saturday was Esther's Christmas party for work. Last year I was all the rage, wowed 'em with my dancing. The ladies at work, by Esther's account, talked about my performance for weeks. So I went into Saturday's party with a bit of apprehension. They expected a "performance" out of me. Liquored up with a few Amoretto stone sours, I didn't disappoint. Good DJ, too. Laser lights, strobe, smoke. Techno, slow, country, good mix. Saw Andy's ex-wife, Bridget, with a new boyfriend, Jason or Johnathan. Bridget's looking better with age. Her hair's done better. She's filled out a little. Her daughter, Kyra, is four years old already. She had her about a year and a half after she and Andy divorced.

Finished my story about the single mother who is given a famous alternative reality on-line. Needs some further edit, but first draft is done. It is my first finished short story in over a year. I toiled fruitlessly a couple months on it. Too long. The key to finally finishing it was letting go. Really, the key to everything. Take all sense of self-importance out of the mix. I did my best work as a journalist the last few months when I finally shed the self-important saviour of mankind image I'd made for myself and focused instead on having fun. That's why I keep writing. It's fun. But too often I get caught up in this self-created image of being a writer, and get bogged down in my own hubris. I instead of writing, I'm a "writer." It's time to just write.

Yelled so loud into the microphone
the snare drum rattled and people covered their ears
that woke em up
and he liked the power of alarm
wanted to just shake his jowls
all wide-eyed and boogie oogie
send em fleeing like some fifties
horror flick nuclear holocaust phobia
nature's revenge with giant lizards
or ants, or women
But he was just reading a poem
about baseball and imitating an umpire
and when his voice calmed
the non-sports literati types
with their olives and Manhattans
and tan dress suits with pinkie rings
ignored him and went on with their chatter
about Proust or Maxwell
or the new gallery exhibit flavor of the moment
until a rousting YER OUT! spittle fly ump return
then quiet applause and retreat
fuckers'd never understand the subtleties of the game

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