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Sunday, February 28, 2021


by Earl J. Wilcox

If some kids played it on the Pittsburgh
streets with only a Wiffle ball, a crooked
stick, and one lad to keep it from the gutters.
If they played it on a loamy garden patch
in an Arkansas village with a ball made
from old socks around a ball of twine.
If kids of any age and many sizes
played the game on a sandlot
in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.
Even if the Japanese kids decided to
practice ten hours a day just to make
the team for the family’s pride.
If the boys of summer began practice
in winter, in a game that no longer
uses bat boys, has no fans in the stands... 
And if this game has no hot dogs or
peanuts and Crackerjacks and many
players wear kerchiefs and masks
And if they can no longer blow bubble
gum or eat pumpkin seeds or swat each
other on the butt after a terrific play.
And if the balls and strikes are called
by a robot squatting behind the screen
in the stands or hovering in a drone.
We will still call this game BASEBALL.

Earl Wilcox dedicates this poem to the late Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose "Baseball Canto" remains the iconic tribute to our national pastime.