a little something to get us all in baseball season mode:
was a big deal ballplayer to me.
as a kid in the backyard
i used to try and stand
in our makeshift wiffleball
batter’s box the way he did
at three rivers stadium
bat almost at the shoulder
i’d smack my helmet if i missed a pitch
and i even tried batting right handed
because bobby bo was as switch hitter
and had hit homers from both sides of the plate
in the same game.
in my room i had a box-full of bobby bo
cards: topps, donruss, fleer,
and later score and upper deck.
i was sure bobby bo was going to the hall of fame.
then it came about that the pirates
were doing a big autograph signing at the stadium
and you could stand in line for whatever
players you wanted.
i went to bobby bo’s line.
his was the third longest after barry bonds and andy van slyke.
i thought people were fools for not getting in bobby’s line
but it meant less of a wait for me.
soon there he was.
bobby bo, in the flesh, flanked by two lesser players.
i clutched my baseball and waited.
maybe bobby bo would say something to me, i thought.
maybe i could ask him about the game where he hit those
home runs from both sides of the plate.
i knew i’d ask him something important.
when i got up to bobby bo
he didn’t even answer me when i said hi
he didn’t look up
just grabbed my baseball while he talked
to an assistant next to him.
he put my baseball under the table to sign it
as he kept saying “bobby bo won’t do this,
and bobby bo won’t do that.”
when he handed me back to the ball
i walked away flabbergasted.
when i was far away from the crowd
i checked my souvenir out.
bobby bo hadn’t even signed the ball
on the goddamned sweet spot
but signed it in the corner in chicken
scratch that didn’t look like his signature
from all of those baseball cards that i threw out
once the 1992 season ended
and bobby bo left the pirates for the mets.