Thursday September 24th, 2009

Perez: Outfielder, Poet

fernando-perez1I’m a very big baseball fan, but I had no idea the Tampa Bay Rays had an outfielder who would feel moved to write this:

One of my first managers always preached separation from the game for the sake of our own health, and for the sake of our performance. The game can be maddening, and we ought to corner ourselves in this trade only so far. I’m in love with baseball, but eventually my prime will end, and she’ll slowly break my heart. Baseball has remained remarkably impervious to modernity, but is, like any modern industry, highly alienating. I turn to poetry because it is less susceptible to circumstance. I’m not especially touched when a poet deals with a ball game; I’m not especially interested in having one world endear itself to the other.

He also says of Robert Creeley: “He has been my most important poet, because I can take him anywhere, like oranges . . .”

And he wrote a piece for the New York Times about the music players choose to play when they come to bat, which includes these tremendously entertaining thoughts on his own selections:

There was only one song that I would choose for myself, and that was the “Price Is Right” theme. The horns are so brave! . . . In the way of “pump up” music, I used Talib Kweli and the Walkmen, but quickly learned it wasn’t advantageous to feel like I wanted to jump or scream about ex-girlfriends. . . . When I got to the major leagues, I went Motown. My friend asked why, and I said it was a diplomatic selection, that Motown, like Chinese food, is one of the few things people of all sorts can agree upon.

This is almost enough to make me a Rays fan. Almost.

(Via The Morning News)