When I was young the war was storming far away
But in my place there was the calm that necessarily defied
Reality; Instead, I lived each day with heroes of my own:
Di Maggio and Berra, then Mantle and Ford … and
Because there was no such thing as what would come to be
Acknowledged as free agency, I could memorize my players’ numbers
And be assured that they would be there every year (as long as they performed).
Because there had yet to be expansion, I could count on following only the best
(No talent watered down as is the current case);
Because there was the absence of big network cash, I could go home
From school or use my weekend time to watch a plethora of games
Played in heaven’s glowing daylight, and feel great delight.
Because there were no multimillion dollar contracts, I would cheer
As the best pitchers threw three hundred innings, got two hundred strikeouts
And … wait for it! … could complete more than twenty games a year.
(What good is a star pitcher throwing five or six great innings
Only to watch mediocre relief undo what he has done in brief and sad
And vicious moments?)
When I was young, the game was young and my love for the game was
In its infancy; I watched and played and cherished every moment,
And recognized on some small level that this was a very special time;
Luckily, I did not know in my naiveté that change was coming,
And not always for the better …
Don’t get me wrong; I love the game today …
But you never do forget your first true love.