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toaster 'at"

Midnight, Cleveland
2008-08-04 07:22
by Ember Nickel

I do get a scorecard, eventually,
But the shock on his face was plain to see.
"A scorecard." Writing's mimed. "For keeping score."
At last, I'm directed to the team store.
Perhaps it's then that I start tempting fate:
Detroit-Cleveland, 7/30/08
I do what many do, and few admit:
Wait for each team's first baserunner, first hit.
As always, I'm chastised by inner shame.
"What are the odds you'll see a perfect game?
You can't sustain the belief you will need
To witness that requires too much greed."
But I cannot give up, and will not yield
To the unknown players above the field.
I can, however, compromise, and my
Request's "a game worth loving". They comply.
After one and a half, neighbor fans mention
The perfect game. Of course, verbal attention
Ends that. Hit follows hit, run follows run.
"Hey, they can't start an inning after one,"
I laugh and point out as I'm idly reading.
To joke about extras when you are leading
By seven runs seems safe enough. And yet,
In baseball, it never feels safe to bet.
Hubris is part of fandom. Which is worse?
The dread determinism of a curse?
Unknowable randomness of those who
Watch from beyond the stadium? Or you-
Driven by some delusion, in control?
Of course, other fans mean you're not the sole
Influence. But after the Cleveland crowd
Goes home, and it's Tiger fans who are loud
As finals from the West Coast trickle in
And finally, Detroit pulls out the win-
Well, I won't take the blame for the defeat.
I got to witness an unsurpassed feat
2B-no: 1B/E7-no, what?
It was, indeed, a game worth loving, but
I wanted Cleveland to win. They did not.
Does the lack of the victory I sought
Mean that I'm off the hook, and that I can
Relax? Or didn't wish enough? A fan
Is rarely only that. So I'll go on,
But my delusions never will be gone.
Though I will laugh at them, they will not leave.
Part of me dreams of power-and I believe.

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