Ballad to the Atlanta Braves

I’m still having a terrible case of writer’s block, so I thought I’d share another sports poem that I wrote 20 years ago for my Creative Writing class at Indiana University South Bend. The assignment was to write a 10-stanza ballad, but I misunderstood and wrote 20, including footnotes for my professor since she was not familiar with baseball terminology. I’ve just revised the poem for the umpteenth – and final – time, hopefully for the better. So, in honor of Throwback Thursday, here is the revamped version of Ballad to the Atlanta Braves, originally written on Sept. 27, 1993. The ending is obviously dated because the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Braves in the 1993 National League Championship Series and went on to lose to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. Had they won, it would have been Atlanta’s third straight year playing in the Fall Classic. But, alas, it was not to be for my beloved team.

 

There was a baseball team
That was always used to last place,
But Bobby Cox managed
To make them do an about-face.

He showcased great pitchers –
Stars Glavine, Smoltz and Avery –
The three golden aces
Who made winning so savory.

There, too, was their offense,
The Atlanta Braves’ batting show –
Gant, Pendleton, Justice –
Smacking balls in plentiful flow.

CHORUS
Yeah! The Braves are ready!
“Tomahawk Chopping” in ‘Lanta.
Eager fans gnaw their nails …
Hurry! Stock up on Mylanta!

The Braves began their rise
In ’91, from “worst to first.”
Postseason play commenced
In a fabled World Series burst!

First up came the Pirates,
Pesky and bratty as could be,
But no match for the Braves
In a squeaker – four games to three.

Then they clashed with the Twins –
Both teams sharper than a razor.
The World Series opened
In a thrilling seven-gamer.

The Braves found some magic
In “Little Lemmer’s” massive bat,
But left empty-handed.
‘Sota won it, and that was that.

Still reeling from defeat,
The team vowed to return “next year,”
To mend through Spring Training,
Make the playoff route, and not veer.

CHORUS
Yeah! The Braves are ready!
“Tomahawk Chopping” in ‘Lanta.
Eager fans gnaw their nails …
Hurry! Stock up on Mylanta!

So ’92 began
And the men restarted their quest,
Foiling clubs far and near
In the finding of baseball’s best.

Only Pittsburgh hindered
Yet another World Series berth.
The games, played back and forth,
Would decide winners of great worth.

The seventh game climaxed
With two outs in the ninth inning,
Bases loaded with Braves –
Fast-dwindling hopes of them winning.

“Frankie’s” bat met the ball,
Justice tagged to even the slate,
Followed by “weak-kneed” Bream,
Who chug-a-lugged safe to home plate.

The team of dreams triumphed.
An unbelieving crowd stared, dazed …
One more last-minute win –
Even the players were amazed.

Then, in the Fall Classic,
Atlanta opposed the Blue Jays.
Cito’s group proved too strong
And held the inflamed Braves at bay.

Again, the crew rebuilt,
But feelings were not quite the same.
So ’93 arose –
Good spirits threatening to wane.

The team added Maddux,
Cy Young winner the year before,
Then traded for “Crime Dog”
And improved, hellbent for some more.

The Braves trailed the Giants
For the best part of the season,
But at last surpassed them,
Which Atlanta saw as pleasin’.

Now “The Boys” are restless.
Will they make the Series this time?
If they beat the Phillies,
A ‘Jays rematch would suit them fine.

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