Last year in Make Predictions. Win cash. we offered 100 dollars to the reader who could most accurately predict the results of the 2017 baseball season.
Our friend and contributor Bill Pruitt leapt into the contest, going as far as to offer his prognostications in verse. The result was the sturdy and well received “The Pennant Races in Rhyming Couplets.” Of “Pennant Races,” fellow poet Bart White said, “What an uplifting, fun poem, Bill. Happy Spring to all. I can already hear the crack of the bat.” Fellow poet John Roche added, “Kudos, Bill! A homerun!”
Unfortunately, Bill’s silver pen is keener than his crystal ball. Going with his heart, Bill picked his boyhood favorites, the Saint Louis Cardinals, to win the World Series. Alas, the Redbirds didn’t even make the playoffs.
This season, Pruitt returns to the fray with “Pennant Race 18: Curses Laid and Lifted.” (BELOW) Again breaking new ground, Bill weaves within the poem allusions to presidents past and present — and even adds a small touch of futurism. On a more prosaic level, Bill’s predictions this time are more grounded in reality; he can’t imagine the Cards going deep into the playoffs.
Some background. In 2016, in Street & Smith’s now defunct. Here is Kramer & Kramer’s Official 2016 Yearbook, we discussed the doleful demise of the magazine Street & Smith’s that for decades predicted and mis-predicted baseball’s winners. Suddenly — Lazarus like — Street & Smith’s has returned from its ten year hibernation. And I snapped one up at Wegman’s for $7.99.
S & S picks the New York Yankees to win the World Series.
Street and Smith’s will be right. I choose the Yankees as I’ve cast aside all previous allegiances to the Mets, Royals or Red Sox. Rochester is Yankee Country and I am a patriot if nothing else.
As seen in 30 years ago when George Brett won the World Series (and Morganna the Kissing Bandit), in the 70s I was a George Brett fan and had to believe the Yankees were the Evil Empire especially after they beat us in ’76, ’77 and ’78 before Brett goosed Goose in ’80.
As seen in 30 years ago when Billy Buck broke Rhode Island’s heart, I lived in Rhode Island for many years where I drank the Red Sox Nation kool aid. ’86 broke my heart, but in ’04 I was on the roof of the Shaw’s Market at the Providence/Pawtucket line after midnight partying with the rest of Rhode Island when the Empire abdicated.
When returned to New York, I finally saw the pinstriped light. It began while ressurecting my baseball card collection, discovering that the few Yankee cards were from the down times: some Topps cards from ’72 and Milton Bradley game cards from ’69. Amassing hundreds of Yankees from the Jackson dynasty era when the Bombers won 4 pennant and 2 world series in 6 years (’76 – ’81), I rebuilt the collection and have never looked back.
My fandom solidified in 2012 when the Yankees farm team, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, played home games at Frontier. The crowds were not that big; after the 5th inning you could walk in for free. But I liked hanging out with the Yankee hard cores wearing Jeter, Gehrig and Ruth.
And that season, with my father and friends Dean and Ed, we went to the May 6th, 2012 Andy Pettite game who was pitching a rehab start. I know Pettite might have been HGHing but he still picked off a Red Wing with his vintage lefty move to first. If you don’t believe me, we all signed the ticket stub swearing we were there.
Without further adieu:
Pennant Race 18: Curses Laid and Lifted
Dude, here it comes again
Ninefold Muse, season starts again
Dedicated to you
and your diamond tricks
What’s three into nine
What’s nine into twenty seven?
What’s twenty-seven times six
Three strikes and you’re out
Three outs to an inning,
Nine innings to a game,
162, twenty seven times six
then playoffs it all starts again
Mets & Cards
Ozuna & DeJong
give their team the wild card
the right to play mighty LA
Best team in baseball
but somehow someway
the Birds continue mastery
over the LA ace
proof Dodger Blue has feet of Clay
but the ecstasy is soon erased,
around the Arch because
D.C. finally has the right Dave
for manager, finally got rid
of toxic Papelbon, have a closer now,
Doolittle, Sean gets save after save
What would Doodo his twitter tag
Doo cares for people, minorities, vets,
So who shuts the Cubs down?
Decisively, the Nats,
then when the Cards come to the capital
their hitters get caught in the torque,
swinging at air rearranged by
by Scherzer, Strasbourg, Gonzalez and Roark
Meanwhile in the A. L., does a strange tale unfold,
Go back with me now to 79,
Angels in the playoffs
Nixon in the owners’ box
with the singing cowboy
Angels are good that year but they lose to the O’s,
they’re good every year but there’s a karmic curse
They even lose in 86 when they thought it was won
From the Angels’ inception it’s forty years and one
till they win the series after the two big shots pass on
But there’s another curse
and it’s far worse
than Nixon could conjure
it’s a bane on the team
that began one year
after Autry’s Angels
The Colt 45s they were called then,
became the Astros, the rocket men,
they didn’t win a series until just last year
55 years the Astros waited
but now they’re fated to oblivion
because unlike the Warriors NBA champs,
and most of the super bowl Eagles too
the Stros chose to defer, to be Biff’s guest
(so named because the Back to the Future screenplay writer
named his bullying, buffoonish character
after the would-be thug who’s now President—
remember the casino in BTTF 2?).
And this is why the Stros
win no more crowns
until in 2035
when Houston’s a ghost town
they move to Boise
Renamed the Climate Keepers– but I digress—
Curse lifted for the Angels, uncanny Ohtani outhits,
outpitches the Rangers, then run into Unstoppable Force,
for the Indians have lifted their own curse
by agreeing to abandon Chief Wahoo next year
(it helps to have Kluber and Carrasco
Allen and Miller,
Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso,
Francona conducting, and best of all, sublime Lindor),
They unwing the Angels while the Red Sox better pitching
trumps— take back that word, America!—the Yankees’ better hitting,
then Cleveland soaks the Sox but not without a fight,
which is good for Cleveland, and here’s why.
The Nats beat the Cards too easily, got slack,
so Cleveland goes against DC in stride,
takes them in six, first World Series win
in seventy long years for the Tribe.
And who knows, maybe Lebron will sign again,
Maybe the Browns will win a game,
I don’t know, Baseball’s my specialty,
I was born the year the Indians won
To Muses nine I owe my fealty.
NOTE: after the conclusion of the World Series, Bill adds this commentary:
Even though I may have missed a few insignificant calls– at least the Indians made the playoffs, unlike the Nationals– I was right on the One Big Thing– Astros DID NOT REPEAT, (because of their visit to you know where),– nor will they , as you know, until they move to Boise in 2035. Just sayin’. Bill