SPRING means the return of fragile blooms, verdant lawns...

Salmagundi

April 07, 1993

SPRING means the return of fragile blooms, verdant lawns, warm breezes and -- at least in the last several years -- a glut of new baseball books. Of this year's many baseball tomes, one has managed to catch our attention.

It's "O Holy Cow!," a collection of "poetry" by Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, former shortstop and current broadcast announcer for the New York Yankees.

The "poems," edited and arranged in free-verse form by Tom Peyer and Hart Seely, are actually brief Rizzuto monologues culled from Yankee broadcasts. You could read them as parodies of the Scooter himself, of sportscasters in general, of modern poetry. Certainly some of them hold up as well as the verse you might find in, say, The New Yorker.

A typical example is titled "The Bridge":

Two balls and a strike.

You know what they had on TV today, White?

"Bridge on the River Kwai."

Everybody should have gotten an Academy Award for that movie.

I don't know how many times I've seen it.

About forty times.

Alec Guinness!

William Holden!

Three and one the count.

I just heard somebody whistle.

You know that song?

That's what they whistle.

Nobody out.

And he pops it up.

Then there's this:

And he hits one in the hole.

They're gonna have to hurry.

THEY'LL NEVER GET HIM!

They got him.

How do you like that.

Holy cow.

I changed my mind before he got there.

So that doesn't count as an error.

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