The Feast of Cy the Very Ohioan

After a brief furlough for rest and relaxation, the feast-day celebrations return today with some combination of pomp and circumstance.

Cy the Very Ohioan

Life: While even the most casual of baseball fans will be familiar with Denton True “Cy” Young by virtue of the eponymous award given annually to each of the league’s (the American and National League’s, that is) best pitchers, it might come as a surprise to many that Young, himself, was not particularly dominant, only ever leading the league in ERA+ twice (1892 and 1901) over the span of a 22-year career. Rather, what distinguises Young from other pitchers is his control (leading the league in BB/9 for 13 seasons) and his unparalleled durability, a trait that enabled him to set records — in games started (814), complete games (749), innings pitched (7356.0), wins (511), and losses (316) — that still exist today. Born and raised on a farm in Gilmore, Ohio, Young returned to Ohio in 1912 (after retiring), where he lived and worked on his farm until his death in 1955.

Spiritual Exercise: Read the poem “Monday” by Primo Levi. Conjure in your mind a man for whom, instead of sadness, mindless repetition brings comfort and joy. Does the man resemble Cy Young? (If not, you’re likely doing this wrong.)

A Prayer for Cy Young

Cy Young!
In your honor, we revel today
in facts about Ohio! Facts like
the capital of Ohio is Columbus
and the state tree is the buckeye.
The beverage is humorously tomato juice.
“With God, all things are possible,”
is the official motto, while an
alternate motto goes something like,
“Even though, with God, all things are possible,
we’re generally content with far less than that.”
The state emotion of Ohio is feeling obliged.
The state font is decidedly without serif.
Sitting quietly and minding one’s manners
are two common activities in Ohio.
The state magazine subscription is to
Reader’s Digest, I heard somewhere.
Three nouns to which people in Ohio do not
readily object are honor, duty, and folding money.
Wallace Stevens placed a jar in Tennessee,
but a better choice would’ve probably been Ohio.
Geographically speaking, Ohio consists
predominantly of glaciated plains and Oldsmobiles.
A popular architectural style in Ohio is the building.
If a Sloppy Joe could talk, that’d be amazing.
It’s unlikely ever to happen, but if it did,
the chances are high that it’d happen in Ohio.
Something called “fitness walking” generally
is not found within the boundaries of Ohio.
In Ohio, it’s never been illegal to laugh,
although gazing wistfully is frowned upon.
You might already know that the official
color of Ohio is Buckeye Red, but did you know
that the unofficial color of Ohio is also
Buckeye Red and that all of the colors,
when you think about them hard enough,
are all basically a version of Buckeye Red?




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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


3 Responses to “The Feast of Cy the Very Ohioan”

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  1. eric says:

    Or, in the original (Levi, Lunedi):

    Che cosa è più triste di un treno?
    Che parte quando deve,
    Che non ha che una voce,
    Che non ha che una strada.
    Niente è più triste di un treno.
    O forse un cavallo da tiro.
    E’ chiuso fra due stanghe,
    non può neppure guardarsi a lato.
    La sua vita è camminare.
    E un uomo? Non è triste un uomo?
    Se vive a lungo in solitudine
    Se crede che il tempo è concluso
    Anche un uomo una cosa triste.

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  2. Yirmiyahu says:

    Your prayer for Cy Young is absent Cy Young, except for the first line. I think you’re just recycling an old poem that you wrote about Ohio. Why did you write a poem about Ohio?

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