Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rays Call Up a Guy Who Loves Poetry

The Tampa Satan Rays have called up minor league outfielder Fernando Perez. Perez has got an interesting biography for baseball. He's a graduate of Columbia University, one of only a handful of Ivy Leaguers plying their trade in the MLB. He was an accomplished high-school soccer player, and has spent some time in the more interesting off-season baseball locales.

Baseball being what it is, his pretty great essay in the September Poetry Magazine is going to raise eyebrows in the locker room--what will Pat Burrell think of such rampant intellectualism? Regardless, Perez really knows his stuff, and is capable of delivering a few evocative phrases of his own. Here's a snip:

Like poetry, baseball is a kind of counter culture. The (optional) isolation from the outside world (which I often opt for); the idleness about which—and out of which—so many poems are written or sung: I see this state of mind as a blessing. Sometimes, in fact, when I haven’t turned on a television or touched a newspaper for months, freed from the corporate bombast, poetry is the only dialect I recognize.

Reading this essay makes we want to explore his minor league diaries from 2007--getting a chance to get a real writer who happens to be a real ballplayer is pretty damn rare. But if you have few minutes go read his essay--it is short, and a fine read. And yes, I've left it unsaid until now, but calling up a player who enjoys reading contemporary poetry is just more proof that Joe Maddon is really the older, time-traveling alias of NPR Host Ira Glass.

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