Like being there

Mom bought our first color TV in ’67,
so we could watch Bob Gibson personally
best the Red Sox in the World Series.
She loved baseball to be sure,
but she loved it even more on that Trinitron
(although, to be fair, the image was fuzzy
and the too-much-red/too-much-green worse.)
Still, I’d run home from school as fast as I could
so we could agonize over every pitch and play.
In the final inning of the final game,
I cursed a few times and not only
didn’t she notice, but she cursed along too.

Sometimes in life, it’s not about the doing,
but about the done and who you were with at the time.
Which is why, I suppose, I don’t watch baseball anymore.

September is the anniversary of my mother’s passing. In honor of her memory and her favorite time of the year—the end of Major League Baseball’s regular season and the start of the playoffs for the World Series—I decided to post this poem. My only sibling, my sister, gives it a “perfect!” So there.

Read on only if you are a baseball nerd… 🙂

The ‘Impossible Dream’ Boston Red Sox team of 1967 (at the time, the first winning Red Sox team in a decade) was formidable, anchored by future hall-of-famers Carl Yastrzemski and ace pitcher and Cy Young award winner Jim Lonborg. Yet, despite this, their making it into the World Series at all was a near miracle, since in the last weekend of regular season, four teams were in the pennant running, separated by 1 game apiece.

But then, when the Sox got to the World Series, they ran into Bob ‘Hoot’ Gibson‘s St. Louis Cardinals. The seven game series that followed was one of the most entertaining, nerve wracking, nail biter series of all times. After 4 games it looked like the Cards were a lock, but the Sox fought back and won the next two, forcing a game-of-the-decade showdown, only to face Gibson on the mound and lose, yet again, to him. With 3 wins (rare for a pitcher in a 7 game series) and even some productive hitting (also a rarity for pitchers) Gibson was the well-deserved Most Valuable Player of the series. In an odd twist of fate, Boston’s ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ was not broken until 2004 (despite attempts in ’75 and ’86) when they swept the Cardinals for their first World Series since 1918. Meanwhile, St. Louis is second on the list (after They Who Shall Not Be Named) for most Series wins, 11 out of 19 appearances.

Thank you for reading Like being there. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is a domain free stock image which I blurred and then oversaturated the reds and greens. That sure bought back some memories! To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

7 responses to “Like being there

  1. An email comment from a dear friend, who, besides being a wonderful humorist and excellent poet, is an insightful critic:

    This is brilliant … I like it because it draws me in with baseball history which I love, let’s me glimpse into your life, and gives such a vivid portrait of your mother in just a few lines, and sums up all of memory and experience in 20 words:

    Sometimes in life, it’s not about the doing,
    but about the done and who you were with at the time.

    Thanks for sharing… it’s fantastic.

    – Phil

    • Gee, Phil, thanks, you’re embarrassing me. More!

      PS: You’re $5 is in the mail. Honestly, you can trust me on this one. Have I ever lied to you?! Will I ever lie to you again?!

  2. My dad, now deceased, loved to watch the NFL Giants on TV in the 1950’s. We had a black and white set with rabbit ears that provided a fuzzy view of the game. He’d move the TV around the house on Sundays to get the best picture. Your post reminded me of those days. Nice.

    • Exactly! I don’t want to be one of those “In my day…” people because, for better or worse (and more often better, than given its due) life IS change. But memories of loved ones and times which then seemed normal, but which now seem extra-special, are moments to be cherished.

      There was football on TV in the 50’s?!?! 🙂

  3. I may have skipped over the baseball nerd part 😉 But this poem is a wonderful expression of why we cherish certain events or activities!

    • BookOfBokeh

      You…you SKIPPED OVER THE BASEBALL PARTS?!?! That’s…that’s…like, so-o-oo UNDERSTANDABLE!!!

      Thank you! 🙂

      I have recently been archiving my poems off of this site, “just-in-case-the-site-goes-insane” and decided to check if the bloggers who liked my early, 2012/2013 posts are still active. Almost none are. I think that you are probably one of the few who were blogging back then who are still at it. Like me, you sometimes take time off but are still in it for the long run. Is that fortitude or mulishness on our part, do you think?!

      • Haha I like watching baseball but I really know nothing about it!

        Archiving is a great idea – I had them all written down but it’s now out of date. That’s really surprising though, that not many people are still active! I’m inclined to think it’s fortitude, we’re still around so we get to decide 🙂