Poetry Friday: Baseball and Its Fans

L. Frank BaumWith summer, I’ve been in the mood for baseball. One of my favorite authors shared this summer love of mine and wrote about it – L. Frank Baum. The most interesting thing about his baseball poems, though, is that almost none of them are about the game itself (and the one that is has seven lines and is about a playground game), but rather on the fans and their reactions to the game and the players. Baum had a good eye for the people around him and their reactions to things and I love the way he describes baseball fans in his poetry! This one is particularly astute:

Two Pictures

I.

With one tremendous, deaf’ning roar
Ten thousand throats proclaim
Chicago has the biggest score,
And Anson’s won a game!

Ten thousand hats are toss’d in air,
Their owners all aflame
With rapture, for they’re well aware
That “Uncle’s” won a game.

Throughout the city flies the news
That tells the city’s fame,
While pandemonium ensues-
For Anson’s won a game!

All business worries are forgot,
E’en politics seem tame;
Who cares for Cuba’s woes a jot
Since Anson’s won a game?

II.

But hark! what means this muttered growl,
This darksome look, this lowering scowl?
The “rooter’s” ceased his joyous howl
And hangs his head in shame.

And o’er the city falls a gloom
Unequaled save in gruesome tomb;
The reason is, we’ve met our doom
And Anson’s lost a game!

(published in the Chicago Sunday Times-Herald, 17 May, 1896)

It’s nice to know fans haven’t changed all that much, isn’t it? And you know Chicago would still be exactly like that if the Cubs managed to win another series, as New York is every time they win and Milwaukee has been lately with the Brewers on their winning streak. I mean, I live in Packer’s country, every football season businesses literally close just to watch football games and people nearly go into mourning if the team is losing. But that’s the way it works, isn’t it? I think this poem captures it perfectly!

The round-up is at Adventures in Daily Living, so go check it out there!

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