Steve Blass Goes to LouisvilleLeigh Chadwick & Mitchell Nobis
Nothing was the same after the shortstop got the yips. The first baseman grew antlers in the dugout. A tree got too shaky to turn into a bat. It pulled away when we tried. Who could grow an arm so big it could slug all of Louisville? it asked, sap dripping from its chest. They’re real though, the yips. Real as that fog last August or that thing you walked in on sophomore year. Just ask my novels and plans or the summer in 2017 when I couldn’t pick up a pen to write a poem without my hand going earthquake. Some jerseys have stripes and others are athletic enough to dodge tectonic traffic in Oakland. “The Steve Blass disease” as they sometimes call it, as if one disease named after a baseball player wasn’t enough. Some trees burned yesterday. Others washed away. A Sasser yip, sounds more like a drink than a stolen base, or maybe a legend from a Kentucky forest, something about spirits caught, y’know. Sweat as a rain delay. A rain delay as a recommendation letter. A free rain delay once I filled my punchcard. I got yips, you said. THE yips, I said. You should get that checked out, something out in the forest said. The doctor wrote a prescription. Took penicillin for a week. The shortstop never breathed right again, but he could sing when it rained.