The Baseball Chronicle

Poetry, May 2009

The Scorekeeper's Dilemma

By Ember Nickel

We cheer for hits that make their hitters dash
Around the diamond, or that with a splash
Allow the batters access to each base.
Hits are surprises; outs are commonplace.

I don’t keep score to stay engaged, but on
The chance I’ll have gone to so great a game
That witnessing it is an awesome claim.
Until both teams have hits, I don’t clamor
For them. The glamour of moments tends to
Fall short of what takes a whole game to do.
The first eight batters for one team, one night,
Only made me write two things, 8s and Ks.
And when the center fielder made his plays
He made me understand a term I’d thought
Cliché. I do not think so anymore.
So as the game went on, I kept the score
Eagerly within the card whose cover
Showed the Gold Glover, though the pitcher’s mound
Was where the real excitement could be found.
Eight half-innings as short as they could be,
Three batters by three. I’d waited until
That day, rooting against hits that would thrill.
It didn’t take much, true—the other team
Was losing. My dream of seeing the best
Was coming true, though, wasn’t it? The rest
Wouldn’t take much more. But the leadoff man
Walked. And then came an out, but then a hit.
And that was anticlimactically it.
And then, when none of it seemed to matter,
The away batter who hit next flew out
To center field, like he’d done when the bout
Began. One batter more, and it was done.
The best? No. We won, though. And the next year
The center fielder played on, but not here.

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!

1 Comment

Leland, May 15, 2009

Very good. I really like it. Thank you for sharing.

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