The Called Shot

by Marjorie Maddox

1932 World Series

Chicago is Chicago; October, October;
the Yankees, the Yankees;
and ultimately, the Babe, the Babe,
so, of course, wind wrapped itself around Wrigley,
the way myth begins as breeze,
builds into a billowing funnel
that sweeps up ballparks and bleachers,
hot dogs and historians,
fans and photographers,
even commentators and called shots
into its whirling swirl of miracle.

“Why don’t you just read the papers?
It’s all in the papers,” Babe told Frick
and his denial-turned-maybe-turned-sure-
didn’t make the homer any more than its 440 or so
stretch of the swing that smacked our imaginations
past Charlie Root, past the heroic
into the mythic proportions
of Bambino-sized expectations.

The film from that spring-wound Kodak? Watch it again
and again and once more for the sake
of authenticity and the eighty years since ’32,
and who’s to say hype and hope
won’t take over your hindsight eyesight
that can send even mustard-sized visions of winning
soaring out of the ballpark?

As any born-in-his-pinstripes or
birthed-in-her-ball-cap real fan knows,
facts only float you so far,
then it’s the dream that whisks you away,
carries you high over the field and past the fence
into what you want to believe.

Sometimes the underdog orphan
becomes the legend; sometimes
the hysterical historical
is just a homer
that the Whirlwind
of Swat makes you swear—
as sure as baseball is baseball—
you heard the Lucky Bum himself call out,
“Way past dem bleachers, that’s where,”
his finger holding up
that eternal number one,
inning after inning
after inning.

You want to believe? Take a seat.
The game’s not over yet.

Last updated December 03, 2022