The Rookie

Skipper and I were sitting back, enjoying a gab and chew,
when in walked a rookie, with smiles on his face, and looking shinny and new.
In his hand, all rounded and curled, was a letter from the font office - and it said,
a farmer at one time, but now he’s all mine, make him a pitcher instead.

We shook his hand then gestured, to the locker room a far,
and told him to settle in, as we spit into our jars.

He left our place and wondered back, looking for his name,
but all he found were open pens, and they all looked the same.
“Here’s one kid” I said, as I pointed to a space,
a pen that once belonged to a guy who dated a gal named Grace.

The pen was dusty and dirty, and reeked of old mildew,
the kid looked kind of sad, regretful and kind of blue,
so I tried to cheer him up by saying… “hey kid, this all belongs to you.”
So with deepness of breath, he got his stuff and tried to make it do.
But as he settled in and started stacking, his stuff upon a shelf,
the shelf gave way, his very first day, then dumped all his stuff.

“Welcome to the Minors kid”, a voice beckoned near,
he turned and looked around and saw ten guys all with sneers.
They didn’t exactly welcome him, nor did they seem to mind,
an addition to their ranks that day, a fielding team of nine.

So he suited up with a uniform that oddly didn’t fit,
and the only thing that seemed comfortable was his brown and tarnish mitt.
But he took the field all by himself, as if he was a group of one,
and he had an itchy feeling, for that day he was all but done.

He made his way to the bullpen, and quietly relaxed,
no wanting to seem to pushy, and mix in with the pack.
I walked over to him, and pointed to a mound,
and told him to do his thing, and see what we had found.
Did the scouts really pick this kid, this tall and skinny mug,
or were they simply joking us, and laughing at our club.

I sent our catcher Jimmy, who was experienced enough,
I didn’t send our best guys, like Art, bill and Duff.
But only after a couple of throws, Jimmy turns around,
the kid’s heat is unbearable, for Jimmy’s mitt to pound!
Jimmy looked at his hand, it was all red and smart,
so I motioned over to the bench, to our catcher whose name was Art.

Now Art took some pitches, then said that was enough!
So, I motioned to our best, our backstop name Duff.

Pitch after pitch the kid had shown us all in many, many ways,
with a deadly look, blinding speed, and the performance that he gave.
For this was no ordinary rookie, the scouts have sent my way,
a serious contender for the big leagues some fine day.

That season he came along, with hard work and desire,
and I sent him in, during good and bad, it really didn’t matter.
For this is the crucible of fire, the vessel of heat and strain,
if the kid couldn’t make it here, then his efforts would be in vain.
But he never flinched a muscle, he never did complain,
he just took his place upon the bump and concentrated on the game.

Season after season he endured this mighty test,
in fact of all the pitchers that I’ve had, he turned out to be my best.
We never really talked that much, but we always understood,
that someday he’d move along, because he was so good.
His numbers never faltered, as he went on and on,
and it was obvious to all, that he was a rising sun.

Just a scrubby minor league club, trying to make ends meet,
in a small no name town, with a clubhouse that badly leaked.
The coach’s office had no door, buy plenty of hissing pipes,
and a bunk and dripping facets that kept me up at night.

But all this I could endure, as long as I could coach this kid,
this rookie that made my days, and admire from where I sit.

A then one day my Skipper calls me in,
he said “pull up a chair”, there’s some news that’s in the wind.
He said the kid’s developed nicely, so their sending him up tonight,
So we’re both going to tell him, and witness his delight.

The kids called in, and given all the news,
he’s finally made it, he’s finally made the cruse.
I suggest that he make a phone call, to his folks back home and share,
his happiness, his joyful news, and not leave them in the air.
The kid turns away and starts to leave, then stops in his space,
a small smile starts to grow, then lights up his face.
He leans over our desk and extends his hand, with a sincere and steady smile,
the shakes our hands and thanks us all, for our work with him a while.
So we watch him walk, remembering when, we had got the call,
but then we laughed, and had to admit, it never happened at all.

So now we sat back, enjoying a gab and chew,
when in walked a rookie, with smiles on his face, and looking shinny and new.
In his hand, all rounded and curled, was a letter from the font office - and it said,
a farmer at one time, but now he’s all mine, make him a pitcher instead.

Coach B.

Do you come up with these from personal experiences or do they just develop through creative thinking, I want to the see the Baker Book of Baseball Poetry on a book shelf one day. :slight_smile:

During the years of my active coaching - I pulled a lot of bullpen duty, then worked with pitchers during rehab.

During those years there were a lot of bus trips, simply waiting for this and that, rain-outs and the like, so I weathered the time with letters to my wife, and now and then would narrate my experiences with a poem. My wife thought it was more entertaining, and I thought it was a better way that saying the same old thing, over and over. Besides, I didn’t really make it with any big name clubs - in fact, the clubs that I was with went south money wise, but I did enjoy the company of some of the greatest people on the planet.

I am going through a lot of stuff that I accumulated over the years, and I just happened to stumbled across a lot of the letters that I sent home. (back then I didn’t have cell phones - nor could I afford to call home long distance) Every once and a while I’ll find a letter/poem that’s amusing, I remove names and other personal stuff - then post them here. I hope you enjoy them.

I’d like some day to publish a book of the places that I’ve been and some of the crazy stuff that happens in this business - but for now , I’ll settle on enjoying the company of folks like yourself and others, and sharing a little bit of humor along the way.

Please accept my sincere thanks for your kind words. It means a lot.

Coach B.

It’s because of experiences like you describe that my dream job after I go to school is coaching, I understand most coaches don’t make much money but I think the happiest people learn to live on what they have so it wouldn’t really bother me. I figure I’ll start off teaching and coaching at a high school but who knows maybe I’ll work my way up to something major.

For yourself and others that might consider a job in the coaching ranks of baseball, I’ll be posting here a short narration of some of the things that might be worth considering. I’ll try and keep it simple - for those considering both the amateur and professional avenues.

Also, there are some that visit this web site that are currently in the coaching ranks as a profession. Their advice and suggestions may provide you with additional insight, but be aware of some of the sensitivity issues that coaches have to deal with - being that coaching is a very personal interaction kind of thing with people and organizations. So, any, if not all, of their responses may be very general in nature.

Coach B.

I’ll say it again, Coach B.—you really have to write a book! As I was reading this latest poem I suddenly thought that this would be a great “Twilight Zone” episode. Imagine—you’re sitting in your office, and a rookie pitcher with incredible speed shows up. You go through all this, bringing him along, then telling him he’s made it to The Show, he thanks you and leaves—and then, it’s as if a tape rewinds and there you are, back at the beginning, and you’re sitting in your office and a rookie pitcher with incredible speed shows up…yes, a tale from the archives of the Twilight Zone. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :slight_smile:

In a way it kind of reminded me of The Natural.