“The Tools of Ignorance” — The Complete Story

August 26, 2011

This piece, and many other home plates painted by artists will go up for auction sometime in September (I think.) I’ll let you know the details. But here’s the story that goes with it. Thanks to D.L. for a little inspiration.

To play ball was always Paris’s dream;
It burned so furious.
But when she tried out for the team
Her Coach was dubious.

He saw her as “no hit-no field;”
No prospect — not at all.
His prejudices didn’t yield:
Paris wasn’t playing ball.

He gave her a scorebook to keep.
He filled out the depth chart.
When he wrote her name down seven deep,
He broke her little heart.

But Paris was a fiesty one
There was no quit in her.
She kept the stats and lugged the bats
And warmed up the pitcher.

Relegated to the bullpen
She squatted on the ground
Coach noticed her work ethic
And slowly started to come ‘round.

He said “Paris, you’re a little light,
And maybe half-a-step slow
But I’ve seen some with way less fight
Make it to the show.

“Your heart’s your greatest virtue.
I think you stand a chance
If we can convert you —
Take up the tools of ignorance.”

By “the tools of ignorance”
Coach meant the catcher’s gear.
It was the fastest way to advance
But things were brutal back there.

Busted paws and battered dignity
Were the least she could expect.
When Rose collided with Fosse
It was more like a train wreck.

But to play the game she loved
Paris did commit.
She traded in her fielder’s glove
For a stiff and roomy mitt.

Jorge was the regular backstop,
But he was getting on.
When he walked his knees would pop.
He wouldn’t be there long.

So to learn the fine points,
She sought out creaky old Jorge.
Who told her catching was sometimes misery —
But she’d be in on every play

“You’re kind of like a quarterback,
With the field in front of you.
You’re got to know how to attack
Every hitter and to do

“The little tasks, that don’t accumulate
In stats or bring you fame.
It takes its toll. I’ll tell you straight —
it’s the hardest job in the game.

“And you’re anonymous behind the mask
while the pitchers get the glory.
Sportswriters never stop to ask
your name or tell your story.

“But I can show you wondrous things
if you want to take the chance
the very soul of baseball sings
through the tools of ignorance …”

Jorge taught her how to block the plate,
And call every pitcher “kid.”
He watched with pride as Paris tried ….
And tried … and finally did.

Came late September, the race was hot
And Jorge’s bat was not.
Coach thought about what to do,
He thought … and thought … and thought.

He finally took his lineup card
And wrote down Jorge’s name.
And after thinking very hard
Paris’s big chance came.

By Jorge’s name he wrote “D.H.”
By Paris’s, he put down “C.”
Coach had her batting eighth,
Jorge was number three.

Jorge got four hits that day
And drove in the winning run,
And Paris? Well, she played okay
And she had a little fun.

And they took the pitcher’s glove and spikes
And sent them to the Hall of Fame.
Kid threw lots of balls and strikes —
Paris called the perfect game.


1 Comment

  • Comment by DLindsay — Aug 26,2011 at 5:53 pm

    Well, I think this should be read right along with “Casey At the Bat.”

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