I had the fortunate fun of spending time with a long suffering Phillies fan this Fourth of July week. Lou, who has been forever immortalized in my book, Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry, as “Philly Lou”, took sabbatical from his team’s malaise by instead concentrating on those “pesky Nats”. We debated if they’re for real. I reminded him that under Davey Johnson, the Nationals have healthily managed to remain in first since mid-April, and it should be no fluke with a pitching rotation that includes Strasberg, Gonzales, Jordan Zimmermann, Jackson and a not-too-shabby fifth starter in Detwiler.
And what about their offensive lineup? Bryce Harper is one of those monsters that comes along every ten years or so. Holding a .280 batting average, you wouldn’t think he’s anything more than decent. But what the batting average doesn’t show is a player who hits when in the clutch. Harper epitomizes the talented situational hitter.
Philly Lou nodded his head. Then, I also reminded him what my Little League coach said many years ago: home-runs don’t win games, base-hits do. The Nationals have remained in first place from consistent player performance and small ball. It didn’t take much to convince Philly Lou that yes, the Nationals are for real. They are the ones to beat in the NL East. And as long as any team such as the Mets or Braves stay close on their tails, it’ll be a nail biter to the very end. But as the Nats continue beating good teams and bad, it’ll take more than close on the tails. It’ll take beating the Nationals head-to-head. So far, that’s been a difficult task for any team, let alone those in the NL East.
I’m honored to throw first pitch on Wednesday, April 20 at Jay Bergman Field for the UCF Knights vs. Florida Gators game in Orlando, FL.
I’ll be signing books too!
I’m honored to be giving a reading, and book signing at the University of Central Florida’s main library in Orlando, Florida on April 14, 2011 at 7PM.
It’s been great working on my new baseball book here in the Sunshine State, and doing readings, book signings…and of course seeing the Mets play all spring long! Soon, its back to the big city for more gigs, games and the long awaited Boardwalk Empire appearance. I have to shave my goatee for that one. :(
October 16, 2010
Frank Messina was commissioned for Kentucky Colonel on October 16, 2010 by Governor Steve Beshear and Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the colonelship was awarded to Messina prior to a reading he gave in downtown Louisville, celebrating the life of the late Kentucky writer, Hunter S. Thompson. Hunter’s widow, Anita Thompson and philanthropist Tony Broy also received the prestigious award during the ceremony.
Messina, also known as “The Mets Poet”, has a long history of performing in Kentucky, including being the first poet ever featured at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in its 125-year history.
Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation.
Messina joins the ranks of Lyndon B. Johnson, Elvis Presley and Johnny Depp as fellow Kentucky Colonels.
I have found
the perfect companion
to watch Mets games with:
-a meat grinder-
At the start of each game
I place the grinder next to my chair
crack a beer, recline and let the fun begin
First I place my fingers
into the chute and dangle them
over the spinning blades
With each passing inning
my fingers move deeper into the machine
until I feel the pressure of the blades
against my fingertips
At first, I ignore the pain
it’s just a few lacerations, that’s all
and besides, we’re leading
by a score of “three-zip” in the eighth
but, then a pitching change
and it’s Aaron Heilman
I start to get a sick feeling
My fingers become lodged
beyond return, then my forearm
I lean forward in the chair
shaking left to right
hoping to free myself from the
stainless steel beast now dangling
from the side of my body
leadoff man in four pitches
and I start sinking
deeper into the machine
I push back from the chair
lifting right leg over head
then down against the meat grinder
trying to force loose
my foot slips into the chute
then calf, knee and thigh
With one leg left, I furiously
kick at the meat grinder
yet it too becomes lodged and devoured
Now, head and torso
sticking out of the chute;
the other half of me being
pressed out of the grinder plates
-I begin to panic-
Then it happens:
Heilman gives up another walk
a base hit, then a home run
-another blown game-
Down I go,
forced through the bowels
of a meat grinder,
pressed through chute and blades,
and onto the floor
in a glorious, warm and bleeding
pile of fan bits
copyright 2008 Frank Messina
National Poetry Month / National Past Time
March 23, “Amazin’ Tuesday” at Two Boots Tavern Frank reads from Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry. Greg Prince, famous blogster and author of Faith and Fear in Flushing. Edward Hoyt, a major contributor to the must-have 1969 tribute volume, The Miracle Has Landed. Bring a Mets baseball card, get a free beer. Two Boots Tavern, 384 Grand St., between Norfolk and Suffolk. F to Delancey; the J, M or Z to Essex; or the B or D to Grand. Phone: 212-228-8685. 7PM
February 16, Pitchers, Catchers…and Hitters! Sports Writers Night at Cornelia Street Cafe, New York City, Cornelia Street Cafe presents Sports Writers Night:In celebration of the 2010 Spring Training, Frank Messina author of Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry, Greg Prince, co-creator of the famous blog, Faith and Fear in Flushing; and Boxing writer Peter Kearney, whose writing addresses a lifelong interest in getting punched in the face. 6PM sharp. Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia St, New York, NY. 212-989-9319. *Reservations suggested.
July 12, Frank Talk Art Bistro & Bookstore, Frank reads poems both old and new including works from Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry and Disorderly Conduct, plus debuts new poems. Frank Talk Art Bistro & Bookstore, 163 Shrewsbury Ave, Red Bank, NJ. 2pm. Also reading will be poet/author Adele Kenny. Hosted by John Petrolino. Click here for more info
July 14, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Frank gives the first ever poetry reading and booksigning in the famed venue’s 125-year history! This happens on All-Star Game day in the Pee Wee Reese Gallery at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, 4:00PM, Free and open to the public! 800 West Main St. Louisville, KY 40202 1-877-7-SLUGGER (877-775-8443)
July 16, Mets Viewing Party at Foley’s Pub, NYC, Join us at America’s most famous baseball bar as Frank Messina signs copies of Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry from 6-7pm. Then, cheer on the Mets as they battle the Braves in Atlanta. Live on the flatscreens. Foley’s Pub, 18 W. 33rd (bet 5th and 6th Aves) Directly across from the Empire State Building.