Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Baseball season opened this week and it's April, National Poetry Month

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY - Spring has officially sprung throughout the land! The vernal equinox, which has guided generations throughout the ages to commence seasonal rites and traditions, was March 20, 2006.
In modern times, various communities have adopted other signs of spring's arrival. For example, beginning in 1996, April 1 has spelled open season, er, the opening of poetry season, otherwise known as National Poetry Month. And the beginning of baseball season has become the signal for fans of America's national pastime. Opening Day and Night for Major League Baseball (MLB) occurred April 2 and 3 and the inaugural International Little League Opening Day was April 7. The “Lisa Tolliver Show” will celebrate these rites of spring on April 12 at 1:30-2:00 pm, Eastern Time on WVOX AM 1460 and www.wvox.com. I will also host "SCORE Radio: Counselors to America's Small Business" at 1:00-1:30 pm, and will examine the business sides of sports and poetry.


"There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League." - Author George Vecsey in A Year in the Sun (1989)

When was opening day for the 2006 baseball season? Kevin Hench (the head writer for the Too Late with Adam Carolla show on Comedy Central and special contributor to FoxSports.com) thinks that's a matter of opinion. As he wrote on April 3, 2006 in "Random Thoughts on Opening Day 2006":

After an excruciating rain-soaked six-hour opening night in Chicago, baseball opened for real Monday with 13 games.

What is opening day and why should you care? For answers from sportswriters' perspectives, read, "Baseball's Unique Spectacle: Opening Day," by Dan Holmes and the more critical, "A great day, unless you wanted to see Yankees: Commissioner strikes out by having season opener at night on West Coast," by Mike Celizic. But there are other reasons to cheer the opening of baseball season. Check out MLB In the Community to learn about many exciting initiatives on and off the diamond.

Baseball is often referred to as an "all-American" sport. However, the history of the sport is not exclusively American and some rules for participation were, in the past, downright un-American. As noted in “Baseball: Olympic sport since 1992” at the Olympic.org website:

[…] The game did not begin as a wholly US enterprise, it did not end the 20th century as one either. Baseball's all-time home-run champion is a man named Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 during a legendary career in baseball-mad Japan. The national team of Cuba overpowered the Baltimore Orioles of the US major leagues 12-6 in a 1999 exhibition game.

Baseball is now played around the world and it became a full medal Olympic sport in Barcelona.

Within the United States, the history of baseball has a dark side that echoed that of American apartheid and forced the development of a Negro League. Here are two relevant historical tidbits from the "Black Baseball" by CNN/Sports Illustrated:

1860's: Amateur black baseball clubs spring up around the Northeast and Midwest. Players for the Mutuals of Washington, D.C., include black activist Frederick Douglass's sons Charles and Fred.

1861: On April 12, six months before the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, two black teams play in Brooklyn.

You can learn more at "Black Baseball" by Sports Illustrated and CNN, at BlackBaseball.com, and at the Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association site.

Fast forward to 2006 and search the MLB official site and you'll find tributes to the Negro Leagues Legacy and Jackie Robinson; celebrations of Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 and Roberto Clemente Day on September 6 on the MLB Important Dates Calendar; and numerous MBL In the Community initiatives encouraging the participation of diverse peoples in baseball as a sport and a business and other good works.

Here are some helpful resources to get your mitts around what’s happening in the world of baseball:


April is National Poetry Month in the USA and Canada. "Inaugurated by the Academy in April 1996, National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events." - The Academy of American Poets

One week of poetry’s month is devoted to kids and teens in events sponsored by the Children’s Book Council each year. In 2006, Young People's Poetry Week is April 10-16. According to the Childrens' Book Council:

Young People's Poetry Week is your chance to encourage people to celebrate poetry—read it, enjoy it, write it—in their homes, childcare centers, classrooms, libraries, and bookstores. During the third week of April, the Children's Book Council, in collaboration with the American Academy of Poets (sponsor of National Poetry Month) and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, sponsors Young People's Poetry Week.


Pitch in! One of the National Poetry Month celebrations posted at the Academy of American Poets Calendar of Events. is a joint celebration of baseball season and National Poetry Month on the "Lisa Tolliver Show." Join my guests and me on air April 12 at 1:30-2:00 pm, Eastern Time or listen from the stands to hear baseball fans share their favorite baseball quotes, songs and poetry. Featured participants in Wednesday's show will be Mike Candel - sports columnist emeritus and professor of Health, Physical Education & Recreation at Nassau Community College; and baseball enthusiasts (and darn good ballplayers), Darius Myers of Sports Cart Media (who'll recite a baseball poem that he authored!) and Marianne Partridge of the Volunteer Center of the United Way.

Need inspiration? Peruse the Baseball Poetry & Songs Menu by Baseball Almanac.

The "Lisa Tolliver Show" airs every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 1:30-2:00 pm, Eastern Time on New York Radio WVOX AM 1460 and www.wvox.com/. You can hear and share from anywhere by phone-in line at (01) 914.636.0110. Or submit your contribution to the 360 MERIDIAN Guestbook for Lisa to read on air. (NOTE: constraints of time and taste may result in the reading of only a selection of audience contributions.)