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I saw our blue-eyed ballplayer’s apotheosis

from bleacher section 96 in right.  Five bucks

to watch Game Two One Three One (W-Mussina,

16-8; L-Boscie, 6-4) that night

when schools in Baltimore had just reopened

and summertime was digging in its heels.  Euphoria

was levitating neighborhoods and marble stoops.

Inside the ballpark, pandemonium was trapped

and caged, but wouldn’t stay contained.  Not past frame four,

when Boscie’s fastball, mashed against the ash wood barrel,

sprang off and sent a violent, mortar pulse’s shockwave 

of jubilance.  Cal trotted Cal-like.   All the rest

was only after-party.  Stooped, the emissary

of games in yellowed clippings, Joe DiMaggio,

pronounced the benediction of the superseded

who loped in pinstripes through Elysium’s grass.   The four

great canvass digits dropped, confetti black and orange

rained down through pig fat smoke from Eutaw.  Clutching babies,

fans at the railings strained to touch the hem of Jr

when he had slipped the concrete dugout’s mortal bonds.

Ramrod and weathered, Sr stepped unbothered past

his old eviction’s site, the coach’s box, more giddy

than all the limo-litter VIPs, more giddy

than all the big league regulars who grinned the grin

of kids in t-ball caps at the colossus Cal,

more giddy than the umps who didn’t make the slightest

attempt to dam their adulation up—men who

had punched the air derisively year in, year out

to teach their zone du jour to straight-backed Number Eight.

Above the Yards the moon turned on its Big Top beam

and, all the while, the tribute that was easily

the best, the board beneath the right-field porch, flashed updates

aloofly through the scenes of downright storybook

and choked-up words: …*OAK 1 BOS 3 … *CLE 4  MIL 1 …

George Angell, September 1995

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