Banbury Cross

(a suspension bridge to the last section)

Through the early days of October passes the border between measurable and unfathomable. The vast sea of the regular season with highball glasses of chance tumbling on its restless waves comes ashore, here caught in a merciless blizzard of plays, there hurriedly tucking its pent up rage under sharply breaking crests. And high above the sea's choppy waters, towering in its sweetly suffocating grandeur, there looms the tropical island of postseason, laden with luxuriant foliage of past memories, steeped in violent hailstorms of rivalry and embroidered with probing tendrils of media foretelling. But where a journalist sees a topical island, the oceanís magical beast, an October octopus, whose eight tentacles are reaching out to twine their way into baseball almanacs, a fan hears a musical fantasy instead; improvised on the eight keys of the sea major scale: the deep night soliloquy of the ocean; the syncopated sighs of the slumbering jungle as it breathes out its sultry toxins; hustle and bustle of furry ruffians scurrying into the safety of their dens; the shrill cowing of garish birds; the wind whistling its passage through lush layers of the rainforest; droplets of dew dripping from the wild sarsaparilla and the spellbinding chimes of three yellow diamonds, the jungleís most precious orchids.

Over the Bay of October spans the bridge between everyday and mystic. Its end only vaguely marked by the scintillating beams of the Championship Lighthouse, the bridge is indifferent to the luring calls of sirens. But not the fans who march on it. Enshrouded with plumes of muscular steam, they enter their own kingdom in the air, eagerly awaiting the blind date with destiny, silently begging the Gods of Baseball to spare a wish. Onward and upward they plod, following the dangling carrot of the World Series and paying no more attention to the outside world than Cambodian jungle commandos would to the rules of the mid-Victorian etiquette. Their inner eyes are opening wide though, like blossoms of exotic trees ivied with expectations. And as the pilgrims move, the bridge's metal ribs strain into a thick white fog, giving them the impression that they are being vigorously digested by an overweight milky snake.

Octoberís door is the one on which baseball pundits knock with their meaty fingers. Just as the butterflies of consequence start fidgeting restlessly on the outstretched petals of jungleís aromatic flowers, the experts dust off their statistical books and get at revving their predictive engines. And when they have figured out just about any imaginable scenario, the backdrop of the jungle sunders, hungry tigers of reality come out roaring and tear all their books apart.

Through October's front yard runs the narrow path to the land of undying hopes, moment's notices, ruthlessly direct consequences and burgeoning intensity. To the land of cheers and tears and flying confetti. To the land of The Unexpected, ever-so-easily missed. Little did the Red Birdsí faithful know that this year they would have to cope with a cornucopia of spectacles.

Here is a glimpse at the menu:


Capricious measures of the top chopper-copper 
After game raggle taggle assemblage
Raunchy night in the power shower
Daring catch of a super duper outfielder
Imagery from an airy-fairy account of a homerun
Nonsensical bid for embalming hokey-pokey
Antic razzle dazzle of two merrymakers
Landing demonstration of a helter skelter diver
Silence cast over the grand-stand

But enough of verbal dressage.
Let's cut to the wild goose chase.
Let's cross the Banbury Cross.

© 2005  Jan Rehacek

 

 

The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part II.

Inning: 9

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes
(an English Nursery Rhyme)

Prologue

Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak

Epilogue