The Baseball Chronicle

Poetry, April 2009

An Untitled Poem

By Ember Nickel

The winners we see, we in time forget.
But we remember some, like those who set
The records that we know cannot be beat.
Most do through victory, some through defeat.

The pitch comes in. It is another ball.
It’s no surprise: all eight pitches have been
In this half-inning. The pitcher is ten.
Her season ends tonight. She knows she’ll miss
The last game, so this is her chance to pitch.
The rules dictate that it is time to switch.
Eight balls are too many, and in this league
Spectators’ fatigue (not to mention the
Fielders’) can be prevented easily.
She has improved; some of her pitches got,
Although not a lot, as far as the plate.
Her warmup tosses did not illustrate
Such power. She walks over to third base
And takes her new place. Her parents begin
Sideline applause, as loud as for a win.
After the reliever warms up, the next
Opponent connects, and the ball comes to
The place where she stands. She knows what to do.
Grab it and run to third. One down. That’s it.
A subsequent hit (or a walk—time blurs
These irrelevancies)…but something occurs
To score the other runner she put on.
The game’s score is gone now, though she believes
That her team lost. All that years’ passage leaves
Behind is her infinite ERA.
As long as she’ll play, and longer still, her
Statistic shines alone against the blur
Of that season, a mediocre year.
While such a career statistic, in its
Way, impresses more than just strings of hits
And pitching again would risk perfection
(Though its direction might be wrong), she’s found
That’s not why she won’t return to the mound.

About the author

Ember Nickel’s hobbies include playing chess, saxophone, and with the AM radio dial to listen to games 400 miles away. The results of various attempts to play with the English language can be found at Lipogram! Scorecard!

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