The following is adapted from a portion of “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot. Specifically, the beginning of section V, which is titled “What the Thunder Said.” It’s just for fun. 

V. What the Votto said

After the helmet red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence at the call
After the agony of a false strike
The shouting and the crying
Prison of the dugout, ballpark reverberation
Of screams at the umpire over blown calls
He who was batting should be walking
With all his patience

Here are no hits or even walks
No walks and no runs and the empty field
The field in the city near the river
That is field with no walks or hits
Near the river one cannot stop and drink
If there were game we could stop and think
Sweat is dry and now feet march down the line.
If there only hits and walks amongst the silence
Dead ballpark turf devoid of chalk lines
Here one can neither pitch nor field nor hit
There is not even silence in the ballpark
But sterile rumble of trucks across interstate
There is only solitude in the ballpark
No Reds faces swing and throw and catch
Leaping from the dugout in challenge
Of Pirate faces that sneer and snarl
From the opposing dugout
If there were hits

And no walks
If there were walks
And also hits
And hits
A pitch
A catch among the hits
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But the sound of hits across the grass
Where the Votto walks and glides down the baseline
Ball ball strike foul ball foul foul foul ball
But there is no walk

5 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    What the CFD thought:
    That this was of course about Joey Votto, and baseball, and life just confirms, again, that JDV is the most interesting thinker in baseball.
    That you probably have a little too much free time Jason.
    That Thomas Stearns Eliot saw the world in ways that we can scarcely imagine.
    That baseball is the heartbeat of summer, and I miss it.
    That Redleg Nation is a tiny, wonderful, miraculous place.
    That there is indeed no joy in Mudville.
    That baseball, and Joey Votto, and viewer mail, and summer itself, will be back, and I cannot wait.
    Thank you Jason.

  2. NorMichRed

    Nice work, and more than worthy of a Mary Beth Ellis award for excellence in crafting of the English language!! Outstanding, Jason…hopefully those empty, echoing ballparks will return to life in the not-too-distant future. Stay healthy, RLN.

  3. SoCalRed

    Amazing! I’ll have to share with my students, who are preparing for a final that will include Eliot’s poem.

  4. Bleacher Reacher

    The Love Song of J. Daniel Votto

    Here we go round the prickly rose
    Prickly rose prickly rose
    Here we go round the prickly rose
    At five o’clock in the morning.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow of the Machine
    For Dave is the Kingman

    Between the concepcion
    And the pitcher
    Falls the geronimo
    Between the emorgan
    And the rebench
    Howls the dog
    Dynasties are short
    Life is very long

    Now that was a team

    • Jason Linden

      Shouldn’t that be called The Walking Men?

      I had no idea there were other Eliot fans here. Love this.