His legend etched in baseball’s sky,
unconquerable numbers – 60 and 714,
these are other curses of the Bambino,
beyond the one that excluded the Red Sox
from post-season glory:
Maris pushed by teammate Mantle in ‘61,
Aaron whose career was filled with homers.
It’s not the surpassing of those feats,
other records fall – the 4 minute mile,
the 10 second 100 meter dash —
long jumper Bob Beamon leapt
a full two feet longer, after all —
nor the audacity of two men seen as mortal
who produced, braving death threats
from fanatics posed as fans,
even the Commissioner,
‘guarding’ the holy grails of baseball.
My naive mind may not have understood
the sanctity of The Babe’s legend,
but they were numbers we could believe in.
Yet the asterisk hung on Roger Maris
made me cry. Tears came, too,
in the joy of Hank Aaron’s home run trot,
but also for the racist slurs of ’74.
True fans, like me, became less enthralled
by the feats of McGwire and Sosa
who were embraced as that year’s entertainment
more than sportsmen sailing past
these newer records, like Bonds,
aboard a steroid sea.