After writing a beautiful poem about running, based on images of a long-distance runner he saw at 2am in New York CIty, the late Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali was inspired to start running. He ran most days for the rest of his short life. Whenever he read the poem at a public reading, he quipped, “Don’t tell me literature doesn’t have a purpose in our lives–it got me to start running.”
A few days ago, the Red Sox unveiled the beautiful bronze tribute to Pesky, DiMaggio, Doerr and Williams.(I happen to love bronze sculptures.) All of you know this already, along with Halberstam’s great book. Here we have another example of what great writing can do in the world. Would the dedication have happened without the book? Perhaps. But now the book and this quartet are forever linked.
On page 43, in a chapter about Pesky, Halberstam writes about Pesky’s respect for Willie Stargell. “To this day, when Pesky spots a young player he likes not just as a player but as a man, he uses Stargell as his measuring rod, the requisite qualities being uncommon inner strength and human richness.” The reason I have the Willie Stargell blues this morning has almost everything to do with the crumbling loss last night.This bullpen faltering again defeat is in stark(to state the obvious) contrast to the permanence of the Teammates. The statues cause me to wonder about elements of the game like consistency and duration.
Bard might have what it takes to become a great closer. For now, though, I believe he is the best set-up man in the game. In his bereavement absence (my sincere condolences to the Papelbon family) the Sox have been without their closer. Hindsight I know. But Lester’s Cleveland blues could have been cured not only by Adrian “don’t touch my head Beltre, but also by Papelbon’s consistency in Cleveland.
In the tradition of Ameican Roots music I call out to readers to respond. Whom do we call our Stargell? Or perhaps not so exact, who has the best inner strength and human richness on the Sox right now? After all, there aren’t many Willie Stargells in a lifetime. Nor are there friendships like Pesky-Doerr-DiMaggio-Williams that last over 60 years. The idea of that makes me just about weep.
PS.In the final minutes of their victory last night, the Celtics kept passing the ball to Paul Pierce, their Willie S.Tying the series up 2-2 was the best medicine after the bloop single by Branyun.
On the Ipod as I write this: “Keep on Runnin'” Cat Power
Note: A shout out to Jen, Red Sox Faithful, a blogger teammate.
Several Globe readers, before last night’s game, said that this would be the real test for Clay, facing a surprisingly good Royals’ line-up after two wretched losses for the Sox at Fenway. Again, Clay set things right, putting us back in tune. While a another pitcher(Congrats Philly) was throwing a perfect game in Miami, the same pitcher Sox bats dethroned last week, Clay offered us a “mere” shutout. Was he irritated by the lack of runs, all those runners left on base? It seemed that with a few small changes in hit ball flight, we would have had a blowout. Was he nervous facing Greinke? Was he distracted by Kevin Millar’s laugh in the press box? None of the above. All the perfect pitch metaphors are flying around Philly of course, but there is perfection to behold in a Buchholz, Bard, Papelbon shutout. As agida-inducing as a one run game can be, this is one damn good trio.
PS. As happy as I was to see Kevin Millar visiting Remy & Orsillo, and hear him talk about 04, pointing to the goose bumps on his arms he gets every time he talks about it, there was an equally joyful visit from Tina Cervasio. In this spirit, I have to mention the reunion of Jonathan Papelbon”s arm with the 96 mph fastball. With the split-finger dropping like it did, 96 is perfect, just perfect.
*Claymotion: clay-mo-tion (clay-mo-shuhn)
1. grace under pressure, especially exhibited after two team losses in a row.
2. motion opposite commotion, also motion stopping momentum of opposing force. see Newton.
Boston, USA, 2010, more specifically, Fenway Park.
Lesteration. See Jon Lester, and see Thomas’ Trolley, May 31, 2010
I am not using the exclamation points for this entry’s title, so as not to duplicate the Boston Globe Headline for the 2007 World Series victory for fear of hyperbole. But the Sox looked that good. Maybe not 2007-World Series-sweep-good, but sweeping the Rays, with-the-best-record-in- baseball-good. That’s so good.
From what I could see of the dugout during the game, via MLB.Com, this is a club of passionate intensity, to use an overused phrase from Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming. Isn’t this a kind of baseball second coming, at least as far as this season goes? What was fractured and frustrating a few weeks ago has turned into this intensity. The other mood in the dugout was a relaxed, even joyful, confidence with smiles from Yo Adrian!-isn’t-Sox-baseball-fun-Beltre, expressions that I haven’t seen until last night. Jerry Remy pointed out, this is a Red Sox team that is clicking! No more slouching through what some of us worried would be an endless season.
Daniel Bard’s stinging the other night gives me even more hope for this season. Talk about good. In 8 innings of relief he has given up only 2 hits. This is in contrast to Ramon I bemoan Ramirez, who I tip my hat to for last night’s smooth inning. I would much rather tip my hat than tip my drink, which is usually going bottoms up when he comes into any game. I am beginning to imagine what may happen if the Red Sox re-draft Daniel’s younger brother, Luke, in a few years. Has there ever been a brother to brother save situation? Ah. So good.
Now back to my breakfast of leftover bbq’d stingray. Spicy, and a perfect accompaniment to my scrambled eggs.
PS. Today’s Poetry Prize goes to Peter Abraham for his Anglo-Saxonic Tweet(did I just write that?), which he wrote in the 9th inning: ” The cowbell clangers depart downcast.That’s two perfectly accented syllables in each half of the line with two alliterative phrases. Beautiful!