No Joy in Motown

The outlook seemed so brilliant for our JV on that night,
The score stood five to zip with but one inning left to fight.
It was déjà vu for JV; he appeared the ace of old.
It was goose eggs for the Halos, so the ballpark’s scoreboard told.

Not a fan did move a muscle, or get up to take a leak;
That would surely jinx our JV, and conclude his lucky streak.
For they thought if he could just hang tough and get those three outs more,
He’d be up there with Koufax and those other guys of yore.

He’d been brilliant for eight innings, leaving critics in the dust;
Fans were waving flags and banners, shouting, “In JV we trust!”
The bottom of the order was due up for L.A. town,
First some guy named Iannetta, who’d been hitting like a clown.

As our JV made his way to work, to start the Angel frame,
He knew he’d been this route before, to toss a hitless game.
With ease about his manner, he looked so calm and cool,
And if any fan should leave his seat, we’d call that guy a tool.

With 60,000 eyes on him, he fluffed the rosin bag,
He warmed up some with James McCann; he rubbed his facial shag.
Then the umpire gave the signal, it was time to play more ball,
And the Angels, who’d looked lousy, saw the writing on the wall.

And now it felt like years ago, when young JV was king,
With MVP and Cy Young gifts, and other kinds of bling.
His fastball had looked good this night, and so had his control,
He’d chewed them up and spit them out. Yep, he was on a roll.

His mojo sure was back, that’s true; the Angels stood no chance.
That blazing high hard heat was there to make the hitters dance.
We watched in wonder, seeing things we hadn’t in so long,
While on the air, Ol’ Jim Price said, “The art of pitching’s strong.”

A third no-no would be a feat, would prove that he was back.
He’d show the world he still could pitch, he wasn’t just a hack.
And as he toed the rubber, and glared down upon the plate,
We all were saying to ourselves, “Poo-ah, the man looks great!”

To Iannetta he threw two; to both the ump yelled, “Ball!”
The fans commenced to groaning, not liking either call.
There followed then a fastball; Iannetta fouled it true.
The next pitch was a slider, and this time he swung right through.

And so it now stood 2 and 2, a pitcher’s count, for sure.
McCann called for a heater, the one that seemed a blur.
The great JV wound up and threw; the batter gripped his stick.
“He’s hitting just .184; this should be over quick.”

A gimpy swing, not worth a brag, did Iannetta do,
But somehow ball did meet the bat, and down the line it flew.
The crowd leaped up, and time stood still, the ball hung in the air,
We willed it foul, “Just don’t land fair!” We knew it wouldn’t dare.

Oh, somewhere in the sporting world, some fans are smiling bright;
Some folks are reading box scores with a look of pure delight.
But not so here in Motown. It’s a feeling of disgust.
Goodbye to J.V.’s no-no; that darn baseball hit the dust.

But all end’s well, we won the game, and that’s what really counts.
Our J.V.’s back, amongst a team that wins in small amounts.
He gave us all a thrill that night, to which there’s no debate.
There’s only one thing left to say, that’s “Go ahead, kiss him, Kate!”

Scott Ferkovich edited Tigers by the Tale: Great Games at Michigan & Trumbull, published by the Society for American Baseball Research. He is the author of Motor City Champs: Mickey Cochrane and the 1934-35 Detroit Tigers, coming in 2017 from McFarland. Follow him on Twitter @Scott_Ferkovich.
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8 years ago

(standing ovation)

Jim S.
8 years ago


8 years ago

As a poet and prose writer I’m always on the lookout for what i consider lazy rhymes.

Nice job there buddy.