A Ballad Of Baseball Burdens

By: Franklin Pierce Adams

A Ballad of Baseball Burdens

The burden of hard hitting. Slug away

Like Honus Wagner or like Tyrus Cobb.

Else fandom shouteth: “Who said you could play?

Back to the jasper league, you minor slob!”

Swat, hit, connect, line out, get on the job.

Else you shall feel the brunt of fandom’s ire

Biff, bang it, clout it, hit it on the knob—

This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of good pitching. Curved or straight.

Or in or out, or haply up or down,

To puzzle him that standeth by the plate,

To lessen, so to speak, his bat-renoun:

Like Christy Mathewson or Miner Brown,

So pitch that every man can but admire

And offer you the freedom of the town—

This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of loud cheering. O the sounds!

The tumult and the shouting from the throats

Of forty thousand at the Polo Grounds

Sitting, ay, standing sans their hats and coats.

A mighty cheer that possibly denotes

That Cub or Pirate fat is in the fire;

Or, as H. James would say, We’ve got their goats—

This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of a pennant. O the hope,

The tenuous hope, the hope that’s half a fear,

The lengthy season and the boundless dope,

And the bromidic; “Wait until next year.”

O dread disgrace of trailing in the rear,

O Piece of Bunting, flying high and higher

That next October it shall flutter here:

This is the end of every fan’s desire.


Ah, Fans, let not the Quarry but the Chase

Be that to which most fondly we aspire!

For us not Stake, but Game; not Goal, but Race—

THIS is the end of every fan’s desire.

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Main idea

This poem perfectly describes the game of baseball. It talks about the ups and downs of baseball and how the fans won't back up the player when they aren't producing. It also discusses how the fans impact the game through the noise level. At the end of the poem the goal of winning a pennant is brought up which is something only two teams do every year. Baseball is a game of failure rather than success. There are so many factors that can and do completely change the game.

Reason for choosing this Poem

I chose this poem because baseball has been a major part of my high school career and my life. I like this poem because it represents what the game means to me and describes the game in the most thorough way I have ever seen. People who don't play baseball don't understand just how hard the game really is which is what this poem is about.

"The Greatest" Kenny Rogers

Little boy in a baseball hat stands in the field with his ball and bat

Says, "I am the greatest player of them all"

Puts his bat in his shoulder and he tosses up his ball.

And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,

Swings his bat all the way around

The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.

Now the little boy doesn't say a word, picks up his ball he is undeterred.

Says, "I am the greatest that there has ever been"

And he grits his teeth and he tries again.

And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,

Swings his bat all the way around

The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.

He makes no excuses he shows no fear

He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.

Little boy he adjusts his hat, picks up his ball, stares at his bat

Says "I am the greatest when the game is on the line"

And he gives his all one last time.

And the ball goes up and the moon so bright

Swings his bat with all his might

The world's as still as still can be, the baseball falls

And that's strike three.

Now it's suppertime and his momma calls,

Little boy starts home with his bat and ball.

Says, "I am the greatest, that is a fact,

But even I didn't know I could pitch like that!"

Says, "I am the greatest, that is understood,

But even I didn't know I could pitch that good!"

Kenny Rogers Baseball Song - "The Greatest"

Connection between the poem and song

Much like the poem, the song "The Greatest" talks about a little boy who goes out to play baseball. In the song he throws the ball up to himself three times and misses each one. This is the way the game of baseball goes as discussed in the poem. Most of the time, things don't go the way you would like for them to in baseball and that is what the little boy finds out.

The Game of Failure

Why would anyone play a game

that has failure in its name?

A game where a batter can go three for ten

and be considered one of the greatest men.

People don't understand what baseball is all about.

Why would you ever want to be called out?

Everyone wants to come out on top,

but nobody wants what they do to be a flop.

Baseball is a game of failure,

in fact, a 100 win season is stellar.

How can this be when a team plays 162 games a season?

Well, I think I can give you just a few reasons.

Have you ever turned sideways to face a pitcher,

who throws a ball 90 or quicker?

Have you ever had to run 90 feet in 4 seconds or less,

to beat a throw that is seemingly effortless?

The game is very hard to be good at,

even the best get thrown out 7 out of 10 at bats.

The people who make the Hall of Fame,

are, in all reality, the best at failing at their game.

So you see, baseball is a tough sport,

it's not for those who expect to be rewarded.

Baseball is considered a game of failure,

but it will always be the favorite game for this fellar.