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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Second Baseman Rides into the Sunset

The Second Baseman Rides into the Sunset

The TVs in the locker room were all turned off that day
The Dukes shut out the world for
They had a game to play

The crowd showed up quite early, buzzing, ready for the show
The drama was intense two hours before the ump said “GO!”

The first pitch was a slider in the dirt. The batter chased
But no fan saw the swing, all eyes were fixed on second base.

Out there in the 4 spot with his cap slightly askew
Stood the Duke whose Hall of Fame career would all too soon be through.
At this game’s conclusion, the Dukes’ season would be done
And then the second baseman would ride off into the sun.

When he came up to lead off in the bottom of the frame,
The crowd stood and applauded and began to chant his name
He struck out badly in three straight, but no one seemed to care
This day was not about the score as much as being there.
The game went quickly as young hurlers had a scoreless bout
The veteran second baseman three times to the plate, struck out
The 7th inning stretch flew past and then the 8th did too
The 9th arrived with no runs scored, anticipation grew.

In the ninth’s top half, the Hall of Famer missed a routine one
His error, quite uncommon, soon led to the game’s first run
With just three outs remaining in the season, his career
The fans were quiet knowing that an era’s end was near.

The bottoms’s first two batters were retired in no time flat
A pop up to the catcher and a strike out, that was that.
To the plate there strode a rookie
A pinch-hitter in hole nine.
Without a big league hit in two at bats up to this time.
The Dukes’ fans cheered the new guy who’d just come up from the farm
“Perhaps, it is not over. Maybe his third time’s a charm.”
Perhaps it WAS “A Charm,” the rookie swung and made his case
A grounder in the hole between shortstop and second base.
The shortstop ranged and gloved it, but his throw to first was late.
Just by an eyelash, one more at bat bartered for the great.

As you’d expect, the fans arose as he stepped toward the dish
Would they be here to see an ending better than they wished?
The fathers there with daughters
The mothers with their sons
The uncles there alone and
Everyman with Everyone
All felt their heart beats racing as the first pitch neared the plate
The pitcher grimaced, seeing that he’d hung his curve,
TOO LATE!

The bat connected squarely and the ball flew with a puff
It didn’t go 500 feet
It DID go just enough

The second baseman rounded third and scored the winning run
Then rode into the sunset as his final game was done

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