Take Me Out To The Ballgame
In final vision before leaving this
had just lobbed my old glove
to that magic edge where grass meets
wooden centerfield fence;
always a good sign the ball gods
will favor you.
Joyfully fell to belly,
burying nose in the flawless green heaven;
Rolled onto back,
all senses filled with the park's smells!
Went wonderfully deaf from its sounds!
It was a game again!
Other player? Fans?
Eleven men older than me in earthly years,
each perfect in his prime now,
wildly gestured and hollered from first base side
top dugout stair,
cheering me towards them.
Wasn't astonished. Wasn't surprised.
Knew it would be this way.
Human destiny was to be the greatest
baseball player of my time
—build the first ranch for young survivors
who had been sadistically abused.
All box seats, grandstands and bleachers were
except for an attractive, light-brown haired woman
perfect in her prime,
radiant in a black sheath, matching picture hat,
sitting in center of grandstand, half way
between home and third.
When she smiled at me,
I sensed she was happy.
I sensed the woman was Norma.
I sensed we were meeting
who each other was
for the first time.
Without breaking stride,
and with my right forefinger and thumb,
touched the brim of my cap,
In the always dry, pleasing breezes of
permanent spring, I had accomplished the
final lesson of the rainbow arc:
I was about to become an eternally active player
on a prestigious baseball club.
Each player had, when earthbound,
a lifetime batting average higher than .320.
Now each man in his own special way
of introducing himself, was bringing me home
ED DELAHANTLY TRIS SPEAKER
TY COBB PAUL WARNER
BABE RUTH BILL TERRY
LOU GEHRIG ROBERS HORNSBY
JIMMIE FOXX HONUS WAGNER
SHOELESS JOE JACKSON
If you went to the ballpark
when it was America's pastime,
and The Sultan of Swat was present,
you either knew—or soon learned,
he most surely would have the final word!
Why should this special occasion of all
be any different?
But it was!
And his words both astonished and surprised me!
Where yuh been, rookie—we been waitin’ on yuh!
from In Pursuit of Honor. Copyright © James Humphrey Trust.