Tag Archives: Baseball Almanac

OPENING DAY and THE REASON FOR RAINBOWS

kids playing baseball imageOne of my clients last week casually mentioned  about opening day being so special this year because of the new kids, the rookies.  Such an abundant resource the team has never seen, he said.  I think he’s probably right.

But you could probably say that about any team, in any year, on opening day.  I love the rookies.  I love that first hit, that first home run, that first steal, that first great defensive play ….. whenever, wherever it might happen.  Joe Panik comes to mind for the Giants last season.

And it also brought to mind one of my favorite poems.  I wrote the author a few years ago and asked for permission to reprint his poem in my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball“.  I received his permission with a most wonderful and supportive letter.  It’s about a kid, and about the person who takes the time to teach that kid about baseball.   I love this poem.

The Reason for Rainbows
A Song to Baseball by J. Patrick Lewis
Published: Baseball Almanac
There was an Old Man of Late Summer
Met a Winter Boy out of the blue,
And he whisked him away
From the city one day
Just to show him what country boys do.
He taught him three whys of a rooster,
And he showed him two hows of a hen.
Then he’d try to bewitch him
With curve balls he’d pitch him
Again and again and again.
He taught him the reason for rainbows,
And he showed him why lightning was king,
Then he fingered the last ball—
A wicked hop fastball—
He threw to the plate on a string.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

But when that Old Man of Late Summer
Met the Winter Boy out of the blue,
He said to him, “Son,
You can pitch, you can run,
But to hit here is what you must do:
Just pretend that the stick on your shoulder
Is as wide as a bald eagle’s wing.
You’re a bird on a wire
And your hands are on fire—
But you’re never too eager to swing.
Stand as still as a rabbit in danger,
Watch the pitch with the eyes of a cat.
What will fly past the mound—
Unforgettable sound—
Is the ball as it cracks off the bat.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

J. Patrick Lewis

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Casey at the Bat …… “The Response”

On August 16, 2010, I posted a blog about “Buster at the Bat ….” talking about Buster Posey, but referencing that wonderful old poem, Casey at the Bat.   It’s as popular now as it was when it was  first published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888.   A friend thoughtfully supposed the reason the poem is still so loved is because the same emotions, rivalries and competitive spirit are as relevant today as when it was first written.    I found this wonderful sequel to “Casey” at the Baseball Almanac .   “Casey’s Revenge” , written 18 years after Casey at the Bat, is an answer to the rivalry between the legendary pitcher who started all the trouble and Casey.   Believe it or not, it’s almost as fun as the original.  Here, see what you think  ~

Casey’s Revenge by Grantland Rice ©
Published: The Speaker (06-1907)
There were saddened hearts in Mudville for a week or even more;
There were muttered oaths and curses- every fan in town was sore.
“Just think,” said one, “how soft it looked with Casey at the bat,
And then to think he’d go and spring a bush league trick like that!”
All his past fame was forgotten- he was now a hopeless “shine.”
They called him “Strike-Out Casey,” from the mayor down the line; Continue reading