The brightest stars of literature gravitated toward them. John Updike wrote a memorable essay about the final at-bat of Ted Williams’ storied career. Horror writer Stephen King has been seen at Fenway Park, wearing a Red Sox cap and rooting for the home team. Robert Frost lived in Vermont for 42 years and recited his poem “The Gift Outright” at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961.
Had the Red Sox existed in the 19th century, New England natives Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow undoubtedly would have rooted for them.
You don’t see poetry about Boston’s hated rivals, the New York Yankees. The Yankees have those 40 American League titles and 27 World Series titles and exude the confidence of a stock broker reading the Wall Street Journal. The Red Sox bring out the lyrical best of their fans.
Dick Flavin is the latest muse for the Red Sox. By day, he is the public address announcer at Fenway Park. His book, “Red Sox Rhymes: Curses and Verses” (William Morrow; hardback; $19.99; 206 pages), is a fun and whimsical collection of poems Flavin has written about the Red Sox.
Flavin is a member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame and won seven New England Emmy Awards during his broadcasting career. He brings a wistful, nostalgic voice to the Red Sox past and pays tribute to the franchise that shattered the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and has won three World Series titles since then.
Flavin’s 2012 poem, “Long Live Fenway Park,” is a perfect example.
Ted Williams at the plate.
And someone's great-grandfather
Just came in through the gate."
Were you part of his supporting cast?
Were you fully grown or just a tyke?
Were you sitting next to John Updike?”
To go with Yastrzemski.
And take that from one
Who’s made the attempt-ski."
“I thought it was over. I thought I was going to die,” he once said in an interview.
Flavin’s poem titles are humorous, too. But most are respectful to the Red Sox nation, with titles like “The Beards of Summer,” “Long Live Fenway Park,” and his signature work, “Teddy at the Bat.”
“To Be In Love With Baseball” in 2006 is universal. You don’t have to be a Red Sox fan to appreciate this verse:
Its praises must be sung.
For to be in love with baseball
Is to be forever young.”