2005 Giants Pre-Preview: The Relievers 

Or, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Bullpen

by E.L. Mallo

Among 55,000 Dodger fans,
The most moving thing
Was Finley flapping Octoberly around the bases.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree from which hangs the body of Wayne Franklin,
Eaten by blackbirds.

The front office whirled in the autumn winds.
Pitching and defense was the new pantomime.

Sabean and Colletti were one.
Sabean and Colletti and Benitez
Are $21.5 million.

I do not know which to prefer,
The slider of a Nen
Or the splitter of a Benitez,
Their fastballs whistling;
Or just after. Dude,
It's all good.

Relievers filled the summer
With barbaric loss.
The shadow of a ball leaving Coors
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in patterns of facial hair,
An indecipherable rune.

O set-up men of China Basin,
Dare we soon imagine you holding wins?
Brower of nine straight games, do you not see how the trainer
Gently squeezes your right arm
hoping it does not fall off?

I know noble Herges and
Christiansen, and often, Eyre,
inescapably bad last year;
But I know, too (and have said),
That each has potential
To pitch better.

OK, perhaps not Christiansen.
Unless Dr. Andrews reinserts
His elbow tendon
From 1998.

At the sight of Wayne Franklin
Jogging across green grass,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode in from, well, not far.
Home is here.
Now and again, wildness shook him,
In that he mistook
Jay Payton
For a hitter
And would not throw a strike.

Bring him back, I say,
And one named Correia to mop up messes.

It was April all winter.
The relievers in their places.
Aardsma and Foppert in Fresno,
Learning, strengthening.
The lunatic fringe sat
In the bleachers.


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