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Original Issue

From Bat to Verse With training camps in full swing, it's time for an ode to the joys, and boys, of spring

Spring, for fans, has finally sprang:
We've seen Joe Torre's (Chien-Ming) Wang.
But will Bob Melvin have the guts
To pull his pitcher, J.J. Putz?
(No, these men are not impostors:
All are on spring training rosters.)
Pasqual Coco? Cesar Crespo?
How, again, does "Let's Go Mets" go?
And will those Mets, before too long,
Light up Atlanta's (young Jung) Bong?
These, and countless other questions
(And Fenway Frank--based indigestions)
Lay all winter, hibernating
In my head, like Zimmer's plating.

Birds return (to batting practice).
Nature blooms (with Grapefruit, Cactus).
Buds are opening (and Bud Lights)
And squads, like Pavarotti's tights,
Are split (by Solomonic skips).
And somewhere, warming up her lips,
Sits Morganna, aging kisser.
This year's Red Sox? Wicked pissah!
(That is, if the disabled list
Treads not on Nomar's fabled wrist.)
Dodgers fans, meanwhile, conjecture
That--per New Age architecture--Teammates Chin-Feng Chen, Paul
Give L.A. a good Feng Shuey.

Neil Diamond's words last year rang true
'Cause Expos pitcher Seung Song blew.
(Pity this Van Lingle Mungo
Shagging a bilingual fungo
In Quebec or Puerto Rico.
Bon voyage. Godspeed, amigo.)
Teams like Peter Angelos's
Stink like camel halitosis.
Spring, however, keeps us hopeful.
Faithwise, Cubs fans have a Popeful.
(To Sosa's gin, add this tonic:
Hee Seop Choi and Grudzielanek.)
Comiskey renamed for a phone?
It stinks, so Sox now wear Colon.

No apter name hath baseball wrought
Than Tampa pitcher Nick Bierbrodt.
For beer and brats--like Kaats and Otts
Or, on the scoreboard, racing dots--Somehow feel like baseball
Like Ruth's nickname. Or John Odom's.
Melvin Mora, Alex Cora:
Hail the Latin diaspora,
Which now gives us once a week a
Name like Hiram Bocachica.
(Or, recast by Kurosawa:
Shigetoshi Hasegawa.)
Worst pitcher's name? Grant Balfour,
The Mariners have Heaverlo.

Coco Crisp's no Creepy Crespi
(As Quisp is not quite Cocoa Krispies).
Still, his Tribe may not do badly:
They've got game in Milton Bradley.
Cookie Rojas, Mookie Wilson,
Reds have rookie Gookie Dawkins.
Cookie, Mookie, rookie Gookie:
None is Ichiro Suzuki.
For Giants fans, a questionnaire:
Which Bronte sister signed Scott Eyre?
Will the Rays at Tropicana
Turn more L's this year than Vanna?
These, and countless other queries,
Haunt us, taunt us, 'til the Series.

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater:
Why did George rip Derek Jeter?
Shortstops spied at CBGB's
Give the Boss the heebie-jeebies.
(Win the whole kit and caboodle:
Only then may you canoodle.)
Yes, they can repeat, those Halos.
But--and one as big as J. Lo's--This headline could kill Mike
Eenie, meenie, Manny Mota:
Who'll hit out the most pelotas?
Barry Bonds, who once ran quick
And whose head was made by Brunswick?

Elsewhere, young K.C. fans Google
Royals pitcher Mike MacDougal.
Clevelanders meanwhile on Yahoo!
Download pictures of Chief Wahoo.
Spring is near, but still are frozen
Bernie Brewer's lederhosen.
And speaking of eternal hopes,
Ted Williams still hits frozen ropes.
(Cooler-bound, like a Corona
Upside-down in Arizona.)
Jailed last week, Jose Canseco
Is a car wreck--he needs MAACO.
But by the time this song's been sung
Both he and spring will have been sprung.

Every player now but A-Rod,
New York's Post has called a gaywad.
(Dodgers fans aren't homophobic,
Just Hideo Nomophobic.)
The Twins, meanwhile, are reconciled
To staying Metrodomiciled.
(MIENTKIEWICZ, sewn onto a shirt back,
Looks like the world's worst Scrabble rack.)
One thing Marlins fans agree on,
All fit in one Plymouth Neon
Should Planters and the Rockies meld?
Both get their nuts routinely shelled.
Need some runs while facing Zito?
Eat a beef-and-bean burrito.

Saw a Robin--'twas Ventura--
When I woke from what I'm sure a
Shrink would call a fevered dreaming,
Winds outside no longer screaming,
And spied, through curtains, from my bed
Some Roses (Pete) and Lillys (Ted),
A Blue Jay on a Branch called Rickey
(I'd, no doubt, been slipped a Mickey:
Mantle, Stanley, Klutts and Rivers).
So, to stifle fevered shivers,
I poured a Joe (DiMaggio),
I rubbed on Vicks (Voltaggio),
And, pulling up the (Larry) Sheets,
I went to sleep for six more weeks.