I have long appreciated poetry as some of you might have noticed. During this time of social distancing, with less things around to occupy my time (things such as baseball), I have had more time to explore some of my other interests. It has been nice... if you do not think too hard about the dark and gloomy circumstances leading to it.
Today I would like to share with you a poem I read written by Franklin Pierce Adams, a poet and popular newspaper columnist. Much of his work combines these professions in a satirical fashion.
Though based in New York and an apparent Giants fan, this poem was inspired by the Chicago Cubs, a franchise in the midst of a dynasty the year this poem was published in 1910. According to the Chicago Tribune, Clark never considered the poem to be anything special:
In a 1946 letter, he explained: “I wrote that piece because I wanted to get out to the game, and the foreman of the composing room at the Mail said I needed 8 lines to fill. And the next day (an editor) said that no matter what else I ever wrote, I would be known as the guy that wrote those 8 lines. And they weren’t much good, at that.”
Why this poem is so popular, I am not sure. Of what I am sure, though, is why I like it. I get it. I can sense the frustration, the respectful annoyance, the unabashed pettiness that baseball fans feel when watching something great and beautiful and perfectly executed happen against their favorite team. There is something deeply poetic about that feeling, but it is usually difficult to explain. Adams was able to capture those emotions perfectly in Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.
These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double—
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Remembering 'Tinker to Evers to Chance' | Chicago Tribune
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