There's No Winning in Baseball
Sports, drugs, and finding poetry within capitalism's rules
By Frank Falisi
Frank Falisi is a writer living in New Jersey. He writes about film, music, and (sometimes) baseball. He's an Associate Editor at Bright Wall/ Dark Room and an Ensemble Member with the theater group Shakespeare 70.
Baseball is poetry: think of its meter and rhythms, its status as a thing just sideways of life ruled “normally.” It contains as many plosive spikes and blank spaces as verse does, and both are predicated on the human body’s ability to do things it doesn’t naturally do. Line breaks emerge across years and storylines. To watch it is to see how the world might work differently, even if we mostly watch under the circumstances capitalism sets. Capitalism can learn—has learned—to digest anything, even poetry. The MFA is proof of this. So is Alex Rodriguez brand corporate-speak.
But at their best poetry and baseball elude capitalism’s capture, deliberate turbulences of how things “really” are. How real is an hour on the clock when there’s stanza and innings? These forms are informed as much by alternative rule-making as they are by a deliberate liberation from being ruled. Whitman’s free versing and Ricky’s game-breaking steals echo writing bad poetry at your stupid bookstore job or playing catch in Prospect Park. By writing forms that don’t make sense to capitalism, we can both better frustrate and design alternatives to it.