Thursday, June 25, 2009


An over-sized empty lot
across the street from
the old "homestead" cleared,
an over-growth of weeds and stones
raked and manicured by the neighborhood
groundskeepers, my brother, cousin and me,
A home plate fashioned out of
a scrap piece of plywood by my father.
We scavenged around and found
an actual base, worn, stuffed,
strapped and buckled, it was the Holy Grail;
it gave us gravitas.
It made this pathetic sandlot
Yankee Stadium, Ebbetts Fields
and Offermann* Stadium
all in one. A tattered old shoe
half buried in the outfield was
given prominence, resurrected as
third base. A boulder embedded
perfectly in line with home plate
became second, and it had come
to render many an errant slide
into a blood letting; dust yourself off
and limp to third. You stayed
in the game. Anything into
my grandfather's garden was foul
on the right, Roland Avenue was
foul on the left. Mr. Kwitek watched
every game, as much for the
baseball played, as the fact
that the back of his house was
home run territory. "That ball
is going, going, GOOD BYE MR. SPAULDING!
Hello Mr. Kwitek, we'll fix that window later."
We lived, breathed, and ate baseball.
From early morning, until
we called the game on account
of mosquito infestation,
it was baseball. If we build it,
they will come and play.
"He can't hit, he can't hit"
"Pitcher's got a rubber arm!"
Hello Mr. Kwitek!

* Offermann Stadium was the Buffalo Equivalent, home of the Bisons and the great "Luscious" Luke Easter.

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