Sunday, February 20, 2005

Say It Ain't So, Jose (The Poem)

Those of use who remember
past titans of the home run chase
recall split end-sized sluggers
without acne on their face (or elsewhere, for that matter).

We remember players
who resembled gazelles, not moose
whose faces appeared on Wheaties boxes
and weren't poster kids for The Juice.

(We also remember when
The Juice had a totally different meaning
He was a running back with a great gift
whose soiled image also requires dry cleaning.)

We remember when thirty-five homers
was enough to win the HR crown
And when pitchers' ERAs above four and a half
got them run out of town.

We watched lithe sluggers,
the McCoveys and the McGriffs
slam moonshots into history
only to have the puffed guys turn them into stiffs (comparatively, that is).

Then we watched the players get much larger,
and hit more home runs than ever before.
The fans cheered and the owners profited,
and everyone wanted more.

The rumors were always there,
The kinds that made the purists twinge.
Whispers were that the guys weren't getting their power from spinach
but out of a back-alley bought syringe.

"But you have no proof," haughty talk show hosts said hotly in defense of the stars.
"How do you know that it's all not the product of hard work?"
"Because you just don't get that big that quickly at that age," came the fans' replies.
"There's just no 'clean' in the sluggers' clean and jerk."

Then the Feds got into the act,
busting an alchemy lab on the West Coast.
Names were named, stories were written,
and some reputations just became toast.

The prodigal son then came home
or up from one of his many circles of baseball hell.
With tales of chemistry about as frightening
as the sound of the Rebel Yell.

In the meantime baseball had enacted a policy
that all of the players would get tested.
The game would get cleaned up, for sure,
with the threat of careers getting arrested.

And now the denials have come from all corners
that none of the names named ever transgressed.
Which makes the whole story beg the question,
"why the policy if no one confessed?"

The wagons have circled,
the spin doctors are in full gear.
"No one has been a proven user," is the word.
Mighty Baseball is covering its rear.

No one knows what to make of
the prodigal son and 40-40 club guy.
Is he telling the truth,
or is he telling lie after lie?

As Baseball enters this season,
The Lords wish the whole mess would go away.
After all, none of this could have happened, could it?
Say it ain't so, Jose!

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