(Photo: iStockphoto.com)
The Colorado Rockies play their home opener Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. For many fans, their love of the game started in childhood. That's certainly true for Colorado Public Radio's resident poet, David Rothman, who wrote this ode to the start of the season.
 
The Outlook
By David Rothman
 
It’s April and the baseball season’s getting underway.
There’s deep snow in the mountains, but down here it’s time to play.
The kids are pulling gloves from where they tossed them late last fall.
They’re oiling them and punching them as if a fist’s a ball.
 
You need a cap, you need a bat, a helmet and some friends,
You need an afternoon that feels so long it never ends.
You need to have an argument about “Was that a strike?”
You need a really dirty shirt. You need a one-gear bike.
 
The grass is getting greener now, the diamond’s drying out.
A freshman’s growing leaner, and he thinks of trying out.
Somewhere a JV sophomore’s up and testing out his nerve,
While on the mound a senior’s going to get him with a curve.
 
You need to drink cold lemonade, you need a coach who’s fat,
Who you think is a dope until he teaches you to bat.
And over time you need to learn a fact, cold, tough and true:
This stuff looks easy when you’re good, but it’s real hard to do.
 
You need to sit there on the bench, slow inning after inning,
And then accept this dismal fact: the other guys are winning.
It’s one thing to acknowledge every bleak and dark statistic,
But when you’re on the losing side, such numbers feel sadistic.
 
And then maybe one day, with just a little bit of luck,
You swing and suddenly you find…that it’s the ball you’ve struck.
It lifts and lifts a little more and slowly drifts above
The slow, frustrated fingers of the shortstop’s grasping glove.
 
And there you stand on first, as if you’ve summitted K2,
And everyone is shouting and coach tells you what to do…
Well, let that go. Let go. You know, it’s over and it’s done.
It was so long ago you can’t remember now who won.
 
And let’s not let ourselves become too ripe and sentimental.
Recall that dizzy time you had to have some stitches: dental.
Still, maybe knowing what you know about how much it takes
Is what brings you to Coors Field now. You can’t forget the stakes.
 
So bring it on: the singles, doubles, triples, homers, outs;
The confidence, the arrogance, humility and doubts;
The RBIs, the LOBs, the bunts and stolen bases;
The ERAs, the double plays, the peanuts, pennant races.
 
Yes, take me out to the old ball game tonight. April is not
The cruelest month, not when Gonzalez fires a long, sweet shot
Up…up…away…and there it goes, over the left field wall.
Heads up: this is the land of the free, home of the brave. Play ball!