Friday, February 1, 2013

By Jessica Grey - Feature Writer

Although I consider watching baseball a full time job my actual day job is writing stuff.  Okay, not quite. My actual day job is running around after two preschoolers and a hyperactive puppy.  My writing stuff job gets done at night.

This may come as a shock to you, but most baseball games happen at night.  I like to say there are two seasons: baseball season and the season I actually get work done.  I’ve tried to write and watch Angels games at the same time - this could partially explain why so many baseball players show up in my novels. What usually happens is I end up on Twitter talking about the game with fellow fans.  And sometimes finding baseball commonality with other writers.  Which is how I was challenged by a tweep to write a haiku about Mark Trumbo’s home run power. 

So I did.

And I liked it. So I took some requests and wrote a few more about other Angels players.  I like to pretend that I’m stretching my writerly brain, so it’s beneficial to be writing Japanese style poetry about ball players.  In reality, it’s just tons of fun.

What is a haiku you ask?  Well, You, I’m thrilled you want to know.  Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry with a restricted number of syllables.  It’s most traditionally done in three lines arranged like this: 5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables - and by most traditionally I mean this is how it gets taught in high school English.  For more on traditional haiku check out this hand dandy Wikipedia article. I completely geek out over this stuff, but I’ll sum up by saying: haikus are awesome.

But don’t take my word for it!  Let’s unveil some Angels baseball haikus, shall we?

sharp crack of the bat
the crowd roars: the outfield gapes
softly the pitcher cries

Those of you with sharp eyes and killer syllable counting skills will note I used six syllables on that last line instead of five. Le gasp!  This is what happens when you write poetry on Twitter, people! However, I like the line. Therefore, it stays as is.

So after my Trumbo haiku I got a request for a Haren and Trout ones.

Haren (or maybe I should call it “In Memoriam”)
steel eyed gun slinger
hurling white leather bullets
slaying our rivals

infield sentinels
guarding the bases: he laughs
and steals them anyway

Here’s the thing about haiku: it’s only seventeen syllables! You really have to narrow down what you want to focus on.  In Trout’s case I picked stealing bases but I could have picked a bazillion and one other things (this is not an exaggeration).  And this is where you come in! 

Chuck here at has challenged me to do haikus for the entire starting line up!  That’s a lot of poems (short though they are)!  I’d like your help picking attributes to focus on for each player.  It was a really good thing I got specific instructions for my first one, or my Trumbo haiku might have looked like this:

Forty-four: fangirl.
I fangirl. Fangirl so hard
And now I am dead.

Okay, it might have been slightly more coherent than that.  Slightly.  Maybe.

So here is your starting line up:

1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Howie Kendrick
SS: Erick Aybar
3B: Alberto Callaspo
LF: Mike Trout
CF: Peter Bourjos
RF: Josh Hamilton
C:   Chris Iannetta
DH: Mark Trumbo

SP: Jered Weaver
SP: C.J. Wilson
SP: Jason Vargas
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: Joe Blanton

RP: Ryan Madson
RP: Ernesto Frieri
RP: Scott Downs

Manager: Mike Scioscia

Tell me how you’d like your favorites immortalized in short form Japanese style poetry OR try your hand at haiku yourself!  Leave your suggestions in the Facebook comments or on the forum.

I look forward to writing some more Angels haiku!

You can find Jessica online at
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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