B is for Baseball Bat

| February 6, 2014

Two poems about baseball.

First, a poem I wrote in college. Aesthetic beauty in practicality and manufacturing. Really about baseball, maybe also about taking the technical and making it aesthetic to… show it in a new way? I don’t know.

Second, my favorite poem, while I’m on the subject of baseball poetry.

Baseball Bat
David Adler

Major League Baseball Official Rules:
1.10 (a) The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2.61 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood.

A tree, White Ash, is plucked.
Cut from a cold New York forest, rendered
Unto Kentucky sun. Cut again,
Smooth, to cylinders. No glue, no pieces.
Formlessness whittled away—a knob
Appears, a barrel, handle, head.

Sawdust wanders through a stray sunbeam.

Sand it down, round it out, let that fresh-shaved wood
Invade the nostrils. Re-grow the forest
With Ash trees no taller than three feet and a half.
Stamp it now, brand it solid lumber,
No composites or bamboo patchworks:
The bat shall be one piece of solid wood
Ready to live and die on dust fields. Unbaptized, in heaven.


Robert Francis

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at.

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended.  He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much.  Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberrant willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.