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Baseball Enlightenment
By John Poff


When you are 26 years old and have zero hits
    in your 5 pinch-hit appearances in the Major Leagues
  and you are playing for the Phillies in '79 when they drew
  over 30,000 for every home game despite finishing fourth
    in the division
and Dickie Noles has just pitched 9 beautiful shutout innings
  and you are sent up to pinchhit for him with 2 outs
    in the bottom of the ninth and the score tied 0-0 and
      the bases are empty
and Bruce Sutter is pitching for the Cubs and this was one
  of those years he was virtually unhittable
and you think there may be something funny about this business
  of playing in the Big Leagues but you can't quite put
    your finger on it—
      maybe it's the Astroturf, maybe it's the ghost of
      Josh Gibson, maybe it's just you, or maybe it's
      something else altogether—
  and presumably the one thing you can do now that will make
    everything clear is hit a home run but what, really,
      are the odds?
And as your name is announced over the loudspeakers, amidst
  these 30,000 people, the only sound you hear is the beer vendors
    hawking their waresóthat old shuffle and cry:
      that is the sound of one hand clapping

JOHN POFF lives somewhere in the upper Midwest (not Minnesota!) where he is a farmer, acupuncturist, and schoolteacher. He played professional baseball for eight years, including brief appearances in the majors with the Phillies and Brewers.

© 2000 John Poff


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