To Live and Die and Haiku Blue Jays

Months after-the-fact

A beanball for a bat flip

Hard slide, benches clear

39/162: Toronto 6 @ Rangers 7 W19-L20


Labor Day passes, we enter a new season. Back to school, and summer feels over even with a few weeks to go before the solstice. In an election year, the homestretch for the campaigns, new significance to the polls, debates coming up. College football starting, pro football imminent.

But most important of all: pennant races! The dog days are behind us, the Fall Classic beckons. Meaningful baseball. And for the second year in a row after a loathsome drought, Toronto’s beloved Blue Jays are in the thick of things, defending division champions and a game up in the once unwinnable A.L. East.

And I enter my own homestretch with Josh, Edwing, Joey Bats, Tulo, Devo, J.A. “Wildcat” Happ, and the rest of the flock. 137 games played, 137 haiku written. It seems so long ago I told a literary minded pal, “Well, I’m trying to write a haiku for each game of the season this year.” “Baseball has always seemed to lend itself to poetry,” he replied. Yes, but never quite like this.

The idea came to me in the 2015 season after the big trades. Tulo, then Price, something special in the offing. A few haiku ensued, but it didn’t take. As the team stormed through spring training earlier this year, the impulse returned. A Facebook post on April 3rd, then tweets ever since.

After two wins on the road in Tampa, the Jays seemed poised for a hot start, maybe a wire-to-wire season. Then came 2016’s first taste of adversity.

New double play rule

Bautista slide illegal

Tying run erased

3/162: Toronto 2 @ Rays 3 W2-L1


True to the form, each game is marked with three lines of five syllables, then seven, then five again. With only a few exceptions, I’ve captured an impression of each game soon after its completion.

The approach has varied. At times, I’ve had the haiku’s tradition in mind, as well as its form, and have evoked a moment without concern for conveying any of the game’s narrative or outcome.

Tulo checks his grip

Fingers form a letter “C”

Touching all four seams

90/162: Detroit 3 @ Blue Jays 2 W50-L40


I was struck by a broadcaster calling attention to Tulo taking the time to get the right grip on the ball while throwing on the run. But other poems are very much brief encapsulations of the play, as in the case of a pivotal comeback from a few weeks back.

Saved by rain delay

Down six runs before the storm

Win by six after

120/162: Toronto 12 @ Yankees 6 W68-L52


With at least 25 regular season games to go, and the promise of many more, I’m going to be living and dying the Jays the next few weeks, and writing a lot more haiku. Come along for the ride in a poem a game via #jaysseasoninhaiku. Bandwagon fan? Get the story so far in only 2,329 syllables! And while you’re at it, why not try some Blue Jays haiku of your own!


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