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Sweet stanzas of spring (training)

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“People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby

 

Sitting within winter's chilly deep-freeze

Our brains cry out for the spring's warming sun.

We search for signs that put our minds at ease

Like the sharp crack of a well-struck home run.

An eager anticipation rises;

Whose legend begins with the year's first pitch?

Which unknown becomes the face of the sport?

This game will not run out of surprises.

It's the time when fans become truly rich;

The time when pitchers and catchers report.

 

Florida swamps, Arizona deserts,

Hosting leagues named for grapefruit and cactus.

Players damp from the efforts they exert

Sprinting and swinging their ways through practice.

Veterans trying to play out the string,

Superstars at the height of their powers;

Faded prospects getting one final shot

And hotshot rookies perfecting their swings.

And we, the fans, can while away hours

As the game consumes our every thought.

 

From Williams to Rice to Papi to Betts,

From Ruth and Gehrig to Jeter and to Judge;

The raw youngsters that acknowledge their debts

And the old-timers nursing their grudges.

Spring training's arrival heralds the season

Better than flowers or showers or grass -

The truest of our spring rites is baseball.

Our hopes and feelings overrule reason;

Everyone is first and no one is last

And your team could wind up winning it all.

 

“Spring training means flowers, people coming outdoors, sunshine, optimism and baseball. Spring training is a time to think about being young again.” – Hall of Famer Ernie Banks

 

(Note: Versions of this piece have appeared in previous editions of The Maine Edge.)

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