Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Thomas Michael McDade

Ted at the Movies

He's the Kid,
I'm a kid
and he's talking
up sick kids,
looking straight
down at me.
The usher puts
the canister
in play and people
pass it on as if
in some spring
training test --
quickest hands
make the Bigs.
I listen for coins,
but everyone is either
cheap or stuffing bills.
Are the Kid's ears
as good as his eyes?
Can he hear
a fastball sing,
a knuckler yodel?
Damned if the sick kids
won't hear my donation!
Hey, pennies count.
They are bunts.
One by one they drop,
and the fans squirm
as if I'm hitting
a string of foul balls.
Then I'm a heckler
shaking hell out
of the Jimmy Fund can,
full count, bottom
of the ninth, trailing.
But the Kid at bat
knows my music.

Saints of Song

The Dixieland Band is aboard
the riverboat out of Barton Grove.
The slide trombonist
plays “Hello Dolly” solo
near the bridge that Ted
Williams flew under
in his own plane.
Johnny Weissmuller
dived off it once!
Back at the dock
drunks march off
as if they are saints of song.
Driving home,
these revelers talk
about ballplayers
not being made
like Ted anymore.
The half-sober man
riding shotgun
remembers the snap
of silence
when the last trombone note
gave way to the sloshing
of ice cubes in coolers.
Rolling down his window
at a long traffic light
he turns the head
of a beautiful woman
a third his age
with a wild Tarzan cry.


They've moved my father
to another VA hospital room.
To make matters worse
the Red Sox are losing.
While he's raging,
I'm hiding Chesterfields
to smuggle to his pal
Nick who was in the Coast
Guard with Jack Dempsey.
I've got orders to play
some horses at Suffolk
with the payoff money.
(The following year
on a ship tied up in Mallorca,
I'll again find myself
wearing a layer of tobacco
to deliver to a whore
a gunner's mate loves.)
Nick's not in his apartment.
He's partying at the Steelworkers'
Club with his pension check,
a bar blonde as close to him
as his pocket linings.
Drinking a beer, I survey the dance floor
where my father and mother waltz
on Saturday nights.
I watch the Sox on TV.
Nick tells his sweetheart
that Jack Dempsey sends him
a card every Christmas.
He gives her the cigarettes
that won't fit in his blazer.
I agree to play horses for them too.
Boston rallies to win
and my black market heart lifts
knowing my father will drift off
to sleep only half-riled.

©2008 by Thomas Michael McDade

Thomas Michael McDade lives in Connecticut with his wife. He works as a programmer in the computer industry. He has recently been published in Zisk: The Baseball Magazine For People Who Hate Baseball Magazines.

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