The Longest Home Run by Jason de Koff

The designated hitter approaches the plate,

no concern can be found written on his face

or the way he holds his tool of the trade,

sizing up the man across the way

who is tossing his rosin bag as if taking its weight.

And then the pitch is thrown and the crack reverberates

through the crowd and the hitter looks to the sky

and pulls the smallest muscle in his gigantic thigh.

He falls to the ground without making a noise

and the first base coach helps him to rise

and leverages himself to help round the bases

but tweaks an old knee injury so is out of the races.

The third base coach now approaches his teammate

but he is too small and can’t bear the weight

so the head coach comes out and helps the two

finish their run as a good leader should do.

As they come around third and are almost through,

all three trip and one loses his shoe.

Before you know it, both dugouts are cleared

but not for a fight as the audience feared.

It is to carry the men through which results in cheers,

it was the longest home run, and few would forget it for years.

Jason de Koff is an associate professor of agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University.  He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Jaclyn, and his two daughters, Tegan and Maizie.  He has published in a number of scientific journals, and has over 80 poems published or forthcoming in literary journals over the last year.  Find him on Twitter @JasonPdK3

Learning Baseball

When did I first hear about baseball?

From whom? Dad out in the garage

with the radio late at night. No,

even before then. My grandfather.

Us out in the driveway in early summer

painting a bookcase. He shows me

how to brush the strokes, while in between

providing slow detailed instructions

on how to properly oil a baseball glove.

Jack C. Buck lives in Boise, Idaho. He is the author of the books Gathering View and Deer Michigan. Find him on Twitter @Jack_C_Buck  

Pandemic Baseball

It’s mostly the same:

the pitcher poised and predatory,

the batter fidgety with anticipation,

the catcher and umpire

both squatting and masked.

You barely notice the lifeless

imitation of rooting fans

planted behind home plate,

the soundtrack of phantom

cheers playing on a loop.

It is only with the crackle

of collision, the soaring arc

of propulsion, the hands

raised in triumph, the ricochet

off the vacant bleacher seat,

the camera panned to a God’s-eye view,

that we can see what we’ve lost.

Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom ReviewFunicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review, among others. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Find him on Twitter @2glassandrews He can be contacted at

I Can’t Confirm This Really Happened

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sticking to the couch watching the Dodgers. My eyes lower and blot out sections of time like an old slide projector and I can’t tell you a single thing happening in the game. I flip the channel to fútbol on Telemundo and wish that for just one second baseball announcers had the fiery passion of their Spanish broadcasting counterparts. I flip the channel back and for one supreme moment the games bleed into each other and laconic Vin Scully screams GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL at a Dodger home run with the frenzied zeal of a revolutionary atop a lit keg of dynamite. The remote loosens in my grip and I am taken to a beautiful dream.

Simon Nagel is a writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. His works appear in Ellipsis Zine, Flash Fiction Magazine and Taco Bell Quarterly, among others. Look him up online at and find him on Twitter @simon_nagel

I Don’t Watch Baseball, But…

I think it would be more interesting

if there were trenches and obstacles.

Some netting that players have to crawl under.

Mud pits. Occasional gator.

Or parallel pitches with parallel games.

Whose outcomes are tied together. But

the 2nd pitch plays with hot-crossed buns

and catches with aprons.

Perhaps, at the beginning of every game

a silly walk is randomly chosen

and strictly enforced.

In order to sit in the dugout

players must make all their equipment

from raw materials. A companion show

leading up to the season, tracks

each player’s skill and progress.

I’d like it if the size of the ball

waxes and wanes by 50%

according to the lunar cycle.

Maybe a race of random toddlers

decides who starts at bat.

The winning and losing toddlers

get guaranteed prepaid college educations.

Mid-game, for 1 inning

a malfunctioning tennis-ball-launcher

could do all pitching. Points count as usual.

Teams specially recruit for chaos-handlers.

One game per season could

be played entirely on stilts.

Final ball could have an enclosed secret message.

Revealed at game end by a ceremonial cleaving.

Then read aloud by a slam poet. In rare cases

it might change the way we see the world.

Ren Pike grew up in Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into a family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. Her work has appeared in journals such as Train, FEED, and Pithead Chapel. When she is not writing, she wrangles data for non-profit organizations in Calgary, Canada. Find her on Twitter @sputta

I Don’t Know About Iowa

I don’t know anything about baseball

Except that Kevin Costner liked to play Catch with his dad, 

not in heaven but 

In Iowa.

I don’t think I know how to spell Iowa either

But I hope I got it right.

I didn’t go to Iowa


(If you build it she will come. 

They built and so I

Came) (but not to Iowa)

So I don’t know if Iowa even got built at all.

Anyway I digress

Instead of going to Iowa

I saw two baseball games at two different stadiums played by four different teams.

Both times a kind man I didn’t know explained the rules to me. 

And what I learned was this:

There are hotdogs and beers, and bats and balls, there’s ninths you get to the bottom of, and there innings but no outings though people do get outed, and, crucially, 

Kevin Costner does not come out at every match

(It’s not called a match)

And neither does his dad. 

Which is a shame bc I think they would like the hotdogs, and probably the beers too. 

Perhaps they only play in heaven, which might be  Iowa.

I haven’t been to either

So I guess either’s fine.

Lucy Wallis is a writer from London who can currently be found in Paris. Her lifelong goal is to be a morning person, but that’s not going so well right now. She edits the Zine Near Window and can be found on twitter @thelucylist

The Boys

the sun beats down on my crossed arms

I watch the kids two rows down

gulp from half-empty Mountain Dew bottles

hot dog backwash sloshing as they cheer

hold their gloved hands up up for the foul ball

and the men a few seats to the right

who probably have names like Ricky or Hank

and drink beer in place of water blow smoke

from twice lit cigarettes and puffed out chests

like territorial primates that skipped work

to knock one of the kids onto concrete

and snatch the ball from underneath them

and all I can wonder is Where are their mommas?

and feel the urge to jump up and snatch the man

who looks like a Ricky up by his collar but instead

I watch the kid sip from his Mountain Dew bottle

a moment of silence and Ricky and Hank

are scratching their balls and throwing shit

and I ask myself Do they even realize it?

I listen to the folks beside me sing along

to “Sweet Caroline” and watch the boys take

a seat and oh how I fucking hate that song

Lindsey Heatherly is a Pushcart nominated poet and writer from Upstate South Carolina. She works as a pharmacy technician at a psychiatric facilityWriting is her second love, her daughter being her first. Her work can be found in various online and print journals, such as Pithead Chapel, Emerge Journal, Red Fez, SVJ, Versification, Trampset and others. Find her on Twitter @rydanmardsey

Reading The Signs

For ten games, half the season, I went hitless,

the ball a blurred mustard seed like the one inside

the pearled cross my mother pinned inside my jersey

to give you faith she said, expecting some kind of miracle

from my wet noodle swing, a mother’s persistent superstition.

So, when I hit the pitcher above the eye, the ball dribbling away

into the grass, she imagined each stitch, remembered each bruise

rising on my skin, the miracle of shiny smooth pink under each scab

the balm of wiping tears, the persistent clapping thud of her heart

as I kept running down the line through the bag away from her.

Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in The Westchester Review, littledeathlit, and the forthcoming issues of Contrary Magazine, Gyroscope Review and others. You can find him online at Follow him on twitter @read_instead

Did it All Begin with Robin Roberts?

Oh, I don’t know. 

I hardly knew who he was when I was little:

the Whiz Kids were already done in Philly,

and I was two for chrissakes. 

But his name, I recall, it could go both ways,

when I was 7. 

And like so many names, it drew me. 

Like so many American names, they just go both ways,

first and last merging as they pass each other,

pivoting perhaps on the tail of a comma.

And at 7 I’d already discovered some things about Dad’s name,

Howard, as in how he made me write thank-you’s

and other notes that always started

How are … wasn’t that my Dad’s name, Howard?

Dad, who never knew sports in the news at all.

But the real deal for me,

Willie Mays, he had my Dad’s name as a middle name:

Willie Howard Mays, Jr.,

nerdy middle name for the greatest center fielder ever. 

Then, 1958 and the Giants new in San Francisco;

when I was 9, I’d stand right up next to the bed

with my tiny transistor turned low, low, low

(after all, I was supposed to be going to sleep),

as the “Star Spangled Banner” played before the game. 

I was saluting what Willie might do as much as any spangle,

whatever in the world was actually spangled

And how, then, is a flag spangled, or how does a flag spangle?

Names. Gotta have ‘em.

Most everybody does.

Even our flag, Old Glory,

and Robin Roberts, WWII vet,

after his time in the Army Air Corps,

pitched past Brooklyn in the final game of 1950.

But the Whiz Kids couldn’t get a win

against those Yanks though Roberts, Robin

helped them get pretty close in Game 2.

Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern is a photographer with awards for his poems and stories and is also a performer with dancer/composer Lucinda Weaver as PACES: dance & poetry fit to the space and with musicians from composingtogether.orgLines & Faces, his press with artist/printer Robert Woods: Find him on Twitter @AlanBern1