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Ode to Roger Clemens

by Gregory Pratt, BaseballEvolution.com
March 6, 2008

There's nothing lonelier than to be a lost Rocket in space,
alone
knowing that there are many others hiding
on the surface
who could join you and spare you the miserable solitude
but don't because they're afraid of being caught in an asteroid field
and so they leave you to your weightlessness.
 
You didn't want to be alone, when you decided to fly off the earth,
so you asked around for company before
takeoff,
but no one would come with you.
Your best friend didn't want to invade the sky
for fear of angering God;
your wife didn't want to let go of gravity;
you'd burnt your bridges with Mike Piazza;
so you asked Barry Bonds, and he declined:
he doesn't fly with white people.
You knew better than to ask other hitters,
who are notorious for keeping the secrets of their successes to themselves
and who you have built a twenty four year
sixty foot six inch
separation
from.
You turned to other pitchers.
Pedro Martinez was a no, claiming a preference for mother Earth;
Greg Maddux was busy playing catch with his children;
Randy Johnson was laid up in the Arizona desert,
and you certainly weren't going to take anyone less than you
into the sky because mere men can't handle the pressures
a Rocket can.
So you left the Earth
alone.
 
You made a stop in the stratosphere,
where fallen stars are swallowed,
wondering if anyone had survived the trip into space but
knowing that no one had ever returned.
Prospects are bleak.
At first you didn't find much in this exile, but when you thought all hope lost
you stumbled on a group of old ballplayers, tossing rocks made of cloud
underhand
and hitting them with door handles from the jets
they were flown in on; they ran around the
bases with singles and doubles and triples not seen since
a more Earthly era. Your heart skipped a beat.
You called out
"I'm taking a trip into space! Who wants to join me?"
Shoeless Joe Jackson turned away from you, thought you foolish
for taking the trip voluntarily when all you could ever want
was on Earth.  
"Baseball ain't fun on the moon, ah've been!" he shouted
and Buck Weaver turned you away too:
"I've been begging to return to Earth too long to leave this spot
for some place colder than any place I've ever been." 
Just when you thought all hope was gone
Pete Rose came, and offered to be with you
for a price,
promising to whistle the star spangled banner
and the pledge of allegiance
and take me out to the ballgame
for your amusement,
pledging cracker jacks and intensity and dollars.
"What the hell" you said,
"it's company," and you took off
but halfway to the moon you lost your way;
you were already growing tired of Rose's song and dance,
so when he bet that he could find your way back
if you'd hold him at the door you took him up on it
and let him go into space. You cut your losses and then epiphany:
"is this what will happen to me?"
 
As you are hit by asteroids hurled by force of Bob Feller,
Walter Johnson or Pete Alexander you can't help but feel
alone, like a batter facing the great headhunter of his era,
overmatched,
like nature were exacting its revenge upon you. 
As Houston advises you to take the beatings
now, and how to take the beatings,
you start to wonder whether or not you would be better off
at home
except it is too late now: you are lost in space
with no clue how to get back home.
The separation between you and the world is greater
than it was before,
in those times when 
you appeared to be an immortal from space
but you are now a mere mortal in space
alone in a field of asteroids you willingly walked into.



Gregory Pratt is a political science student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His political commentary can be found at the Office of the Independent Blogger, and he can be reached at Gregory@baseballevolution.com.

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