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Line-Up for Today: The players that define the modern game

Reimagining Ogden Nash’s classic 1949 poem using current-day stars from the Yankees and MLB

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Inspiration for this rendition was initially sparked as I aimlessly clicked around Golden Era players’ Wikipedia pages. From Honus Wagner to Tris Speaker to Rogers Hornsby, I noticed that for many of them, a little blurb sat in or around the legacy section. Just a little four line stanza excerpted from Ogden Nash’s 1949 poem Line-up for Yesterday.

This piqued my curiosity enough to find the poem in its entirety online. As I read through each stanza dedicated to a letter of the alphabet, an idea began to form in my mind. Why not adapt the format for today’s players?

A is for Alonso
the young polar bear
when he smacks the ball
it goes high in the air

B is for Bautista
swung the stick like a mace
he flipped his bat high
then got punched in the face

C is for Christian
Yeli’s a freak in the box
the way he hits homers
and collects those base knocks

D is for DJ
the silent assassin
he sprays to all fields
many hits he’s amassin’

E is for Ellsbury
a huge waste of money
millions per year
it’s not even funny

F is for Felix
he once was a king
time’s running short
to win him a ring

G is for Gardner
intense in his feelings
when he gets angry
his bat hits the ceiling

H is for Harper
to say this is fair:
for all of those dollars
he cares more ‘bout is hair

I is for Ichiro
he had laser beam throws
between MLB and Japan
he collected more hits than Rose

J is for Judge
the colossus of right field
a bludgeoning bat
and cannon arm does he wield

K is for Kershaw
like Koufax of yore
when he takes the mound
the opponent won’t score

L is for Lindor
Such a joy to behold
With a smile ‘cross his face
Watching Frankie never gets old

M is for Mad Max
after K’s he goes stalking
Glaring through two-colored eyes
His pitches do the talking

N is for Noah
Thor on the mound
with three-digit fastballs
the strike zone he does pound

O is for Ortiz
the Yankee killer
my respect for Big Papi
made every game a thriller

P is for Pujols
an unfortunate name
a machine that’s been rusting
still a legend all the same

Q is for Quintana
there’s not much to say
not many Q names
in the big leagues today

R is for Realmuto
Miami he once helped carry
a pretty good catcher
but not better than Gary

S is for Soto
a star in the making
when he starts to shuffle
the pitcher starts quaking

T is for Trout
the almighty fish
no batter is better
than him at the dish

U is for Urshela
mans the hot corner with brio
came out of nowhere
that marvelous Gio

V is for Voit
The fans they cheer “Luke!”
He hops just like Sosa
with every homer he nukes

W is for Walker
he couldn’t be cooler
the new ace in LA
Buehler... Buehler?

X is for Xander
a player underrated
without his pal Mookie
to the cellar Boston’s slated

Y is for Yadi
once at the top of his game
now a borderline case
for the Hall of Fame

Z is for Zero
a number we all know
of World Titles deserved
by every cheating Astro

I recognize that there are many players deserving to be eulogized in this piece (I most regret not dedicating a stanza to Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Mookie Betts). However I think this strikes a good balance of lightheartedness and proper acknowledgement. It was certainly a blast to write, let me know what you think.

Also, if there is anyone else you feel I may have left out, I invite you to write your own short stanza to that player. It would certainly be cool to see this poem grow in the comments section. I am eager to see what readers can come up with, and would love for this to be a creative space.