The sad baseball frog

The god he does not believe in has never been more absent. It is not like the time when he thought he saw his father, who had been dead for 20 years, standing in his kitchen in the middle of the night. But something — an unnameable something — has grown restless and turned back. It is nothing he could impart, nothing that even has a name. But the continental-drift of a gnaw is enough to tear notches into the strong hearts of oaks rooted forever to the floor of the world. His library is but a burnt offering to … Continue reading The sad baseball frog

How to Defeat the Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee’s Brewers once shared a league with the Tigers of Detroit. They don’t anymore, but sometimes, under cover of night, they still play each other in the darkened blind alleys of the American Midwest. Third-generation Poles part their bungalow curtains and watch. Across all such contests, whether sanctioned or questionable, the Brewers are 1,005-0 against the Tigers. To what is their rousing success against the Jungle Cats O’ Michy-Gandy owing? Crippling alcoholism. Witness this revealing pen-and-ink dispatch: The Tigers, miserable sots one and all, are unable to resist the foggy inveiglements of the tipple. “Firewater, as fresh as it is … Continue reading How to Defeat the Detroit Tigers

Congratulations.

Congratulations. Great news, registered user. You won a pizza. Did you realize you won a pizza. Did you. Congratulations. Your pizza will arrive shortly. Congratulations. We’re excited for you. We’re also excited about the no-hitter that entitled you to this pizza. Did you see the final out. It was something. Always is under those circumstances. Hope you enjoy the pizza. Have you ordered with us before. We hope you’ll consider doing business with us again. Next time, would you consider actually paying for our goods and services. Trying to run a business here. We’re franchised. Did you know that. So … Continue reading Congratulations.

Young Kevin Youkilis

Young Kevin Youkilis is the only varsity athlete to be bullied by an asthmatic National Merit Semi-Finalist. Young Kevin Youkilis uses flashcards to remind him of his deepest regrets and of the specific ways in which he will one day show them all. Young Kevin Youkilis will not be voted “Most Handsome” or “Most Likely to Succeed”; Young Kevin Youkilis, in an informal and unsanctioned straw poll, will be voted “Most Likely to Try So Hard It’s Almost Adorable.” Young Kevin Youkilis, if he’s honest with himself, is probably too old to identify so strongly with the full complement of … Continue reading Young Kevin Youkilis

Minimalist short fiction starring Adrian Beltre, II

  Adrian Beltre crested the hill in front of Rucker. He scanned the tree-line for the white throat of the buck. That, or the eyes, was what you usually saw first. Nothing moved except the leaves, which seemed to rustle themselves. There was no wind. His next step was on a mossy stone which slid underfoot. He fell on his hip. He dropped his rifle and rolled on his back. “Goddammit,” he muttered. “You OK, old man?” grinned Rucker as he clasped his forearm to pull him up. “Better let me blaze the trail.” After Adrian Beltre got on his … Continue reading Minimalist short fiction starring Adrian Beltre, II

Steve Trout knows what he’s doing

Steve Trout is aware that society would prefer that he not wear those seductive Foster Grants, particularly in mixed company, but he doesn’t much give a damn about that … Steve Trout walks loins-first into the room. “Did you know the Yangtze is shaped like an abundant dong?” He says to, not asks of his fellow cocktail-hour guests. Divorcees undulate toward him as though they are the frayed tendrils of a dock rope as it sinks into the vinegary murk. The status is no longer quo. (This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs. It has since been revised and made even … Continue reading Steve Trout knows what he’s doing

It’s been a good day for Banknotes Harper

Author’s note: If you haven’t already, you are invited to partake of the Banknotes Harper origin story. It’s been a good day at the High-Rise Business Building of Banknotes Harper … At first, it appeared as though the leveraged buyout of the pharmaceutical concern he’d been eyeballing would fall through, but then, as negotiations frayed, Banknotes Harper locked eyes with Larry Ellison, his minority partner, and thundered, “Get your purse.” Sensing the seriousness of the moment and suspecting no contrivance, the Business Victims and toothless regulators across the conference table — splintered from an unappeasable pounding — promptly surrendered. Seized … Continue reading It’s been a good day for Banknotes Harper

Manny Acta would prefer that you not do that

That thing that you’re doing? Right now in presumed secret? Former Indians manager Manny Acta senses that you’re doing that very thing, and, if truth be told, he would like you to stop it right now … It’s fine. Manny Acta did things like that at your age, too (albeit without such an “artisan’s attention to craft” about the whole thing). But just don’t do that again. At least not when Manny Acta is trying to have an adult conversation. Actually, the more Manny Acta thinks about it, the more he believes that you should be utterly ashamed of yourself. … Continue reading Manny Acta would prefer that you not do that

For Darrell Porter

Looking back, When you bounded into Sutter’s arms It seems too obvious an ascension Of a man who brushed his burst fingers against the endurable Only when he was ashamed. In the beery afterglow, Your words as simple as you longed to be, Your words, like your swing — that motel Gideon’s Bible of a swing — Lunging, halting, Then hoping. You can do this, we know, this hitting, catching, running. But it’s the after — the plenteous and undetailed after, The quiet after — To which you’ll always belong. *** You marooned your truck on a roadside tree stump … Continue reading For Darrell Porter

Rudy Pemberton is complex

It was with a measure of confidence that today, in the break room, you attested: “That Rudy Pemberton. He was just a ballplayer.” About this — in addition to your callow belief in a better tomorrow — you were horribly wrong … Sure, the image above shows Rudy Pemberton in professional action, but what of the disembodied spectral presence, the one whose soft, Olan Mills edges suggest a man of a poet’s dimension and discontent? He hovers about your assumptions like a reproving moon. You owe Rudy Pemberton an apology. (This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs. It has since been … Continue reading Rudy Pemberton is complex