THT Poetry: Flag At Half-Mast

M
A
R
V
I
N
~
M
I
L
L
E
R
~
F
ail-safe
Reserve clause
Etches infinities on players’
Eyelids, clawing through decades
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And dog days, coring baseball’s living bones,
Gutting what goodwill remains, leaving
Enslaved boys no choice but listen:
No one – no team,
no boss, nobody –
Controls
You.

~
H
A
L
L
~
O
F
~
F
A
M
E

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Comments

  1. Janet F. said...

    Wow! Love this, Ed. My husband is a huge baseball fan who is explaining all of this and past history to me. He “knows” Marvin Miller……..but the poem stands alone and I got it anyway.

  2. carl said...

    Lovely poem, but while the man certainly had a huge impact on the game, it was a negative impact.  Free agency has hurt baseball and encouraged PEDs (which the deceased could not understand hurt both clean and non-clean ball players).  Ticket prices have gone through the roof, teams have had to re-locate, and let us not forget the 1972, 1981 and 1994 strikes.

  3. Ed DeCaria said...

    @studes Thanks, Dave.

    @Janet Tell your hubby to poke around the rest of the Hardball Times site. Whole new world …

    @carl I appreciate your comment and understand your POV, but what is the alternative to free agency, exactly?

  4. carl said...

    Ed,

    There are several alternatives to free agency.  Before free agency, the reserve clause kept players to their original teams, which encouraged scouting, player development and allowed players to bond with their fans decades before 24/7 news channels, ESPN, twitter etc.  Note their have been no “boys of summer teams” since free agency.

  5. RoundHeadedKid said...

    @carl Those are some nice pre-free agency qualities, but they’re not alternatives. You can’t go back in time – can’t get to “boys of summer” from here!

  6. Ed DeCaria said...

    @Tara Thanks. Love him or hate him, he was a pretty interesting guy.

    @STB How did I not know you liked baseball?!

    @RHK I agree. If not free agency, and not the full reserve clause (it’s still alive and well for new draftees and low service time players), then what is the proposed alternative framework for employing baseball players?

  7. Mary Lee Hahn said...

    I don’t know much of anything about baseball and less than that about free agents and whether they helped or hurt the sport. But I do love the the way this poem hangs its flag of words at half mast. Perfect.

  8. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

    Hey, Ed! It’s always fun to find out where you are from week to week.  My son loves baseball…and I love to watch!  Thank you for a little sports history here on Poetry Friday!  a.

  9. Pam Courtney said...

    Ed, I know nothing of baseball, less about Mr. Miller.  Nevertheless, I am struck by an understanding that this man was quite influential (perhaps not in the best way) on those who give their heart-life to this sport.  What is obvious is your respect for the game and all of its players on field and off.  Love the visual form of this piece.  More importantly, the loving message of your stern advice is universal. Thank you for sharing and I’ll be back to read more.  Thanks.

  10. Ed DeCaria said...

    @AmyLV Your son must have been raised well.

    @MaryLee Thanks for visiting and commenting. Yeah, I think I heard somewhere that good things can happen when you combine sports and poetry smile

    @Pam Glad you liked it. The “stern advice” at the end is my compressed version of how Miller might have delivered his message to players who were perhaps skeptical of his ideas.

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