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October's Gem

The Super Bowl, I grant, is super, if by that you mean
It generates a noisy buzz unparalleled between
The hype, the advertising, and the millions who are thrilled
To watch a game in which somebody might, perhaps get killed...
Or maimed at least, or broken, or disabled, or knocked out.
In that respect the Super Bowl is super, there's no doubt.

The Final Four is also big, and folks inclined to bet
Will tell you it's the greatest sports event of all, and yet,
How great can those games be say any number of nay-sayers,
When those who stage the spectacle neglect to pay the players?

And so, for me, the diamond in the crown of all our games
No matter what the lover of the others loudly claims
Is that tradition — hallowed, strong — of which no true fan wearies...
It is, of course, October's gem. All hail it: The World Series.

The bunting, now in readiness, will drape red, white, and blue
Both stadia involved, be they near-falling down or new.
The stories will be myriad of old men on the mound,
Or rookies in the dugout as they first endure the sound
Of all the ballpark howling for a strikeout or a run
...Or maybe it's the howl of anguish for a game begun
In spring, when all is possible, and ending in the fall,
When, win or lose, the winter's coming. Sad, and that's not all...
These days, unlike the ancient days of baseball that we knew
Are full of roster changes, so the players pleasing you
As autumn's evenings lay the frost upon the infield lawn
May, when the final pitch is thrown, pack up and then be gone.

For this and other reasons, some gigantic, others small,
I rate the worthy Serious alone above them all.
(The Serious is what Ring Lardner called the thing back then...
And if you haven't read him recently, you should, again.)
And so, fie on the steroids and the greenies and the cheats...
For now, I don't care what each player shoots or rubs or eats...
And likewise I will not complain the games are on too late,
Or moan that every Series game is not completely great.
No, now, as Series time approaches, I will just recall
My fond belief that this is still the best sports time of all.

This program aired on October 12, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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