TCR Poetry Corner - The Billy Goat

(With all respect for, and apologies to, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven")

The Billy Goat

Once upon an evening dreary, while I watched a sad conspiracy -

One of many cruel and curious volumes of Chicago lore,

While I nodded, nearly snoozing, modestly I started musing

at their newfound ways of losing, losing at victory's door.

"'Tis the manager," I muttered, "balking at victory's door -

Only this, and nothing more."


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak September,

And each separate stranded runner wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow

From the blogs surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Prior -

for the rare and radiant pitcher whom the angels named Prior -

Nameless here for evermore


And the doughy visage leaning from the dugout's edge

Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

"Is that some manager entreating that we walk through victory's door?

Some old manager entreating that we walk through victory's door?

Could this be, so help me lord?"


Presently my soul grew stronger, hestitating then no longer,

"d00d," typed I, on a blog, "truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was snoozing, and so gently Lou resisted losing,

And so humbly Lou came musing, musing about victory's door,

that I scarce was sure I heard Lou - where is my tuner? On the floor."

The mute was on, "oh drat" I swore.


Deep into cyberspace peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before

But the silence was unbroken, and the T.V. gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Prior."

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Prior!"

Merely this and nothing more.


Back into my apartment turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a barking somewhat louder than before.

"Surely," said I, "Surely that is something in my internet browser;

Let me see then what thereat is, and this mystery explore -

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -

'Tis a Windows Error, and nothing more!"


Open here I flung Mozilla, where, with many a spurt and sputter,

In there popped up a hairy goat of the Wrigley days of yore.

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my Windows taskbar -

Perched upon a .jpg of Dallas, the Cubs GM in days of yore -

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.


Then this billy goat beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the mangy and ripe decorum of the coat of hair it wore,

"Though thy hair be beyond hope, thou," I said, "art sure no dope.

Ghastly grim and ancient goat wandering from Lake Michigan's shore -

Tell me what thy lordly name is on that famous tavern's door!"

Bleat the billy goat, "Ball Four."


Much I marveled this ungainly mammal to hear discourse so plainly

Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing goat above his Windows taskbar -

Bird or beast above the GM's picture above his Windows taskbar,

With such name as "Ball Four."


But the goat, sitting lonely on the placid .jpg, spoke only,

That one phrase, as if his soul in that one term he did outpour.

Nothing further then he bleated - not a tin can then he eated -

Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other files have disappeared before -

On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before."

Then the goat said, "Ball Four."


Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,

Caught from some unhappy manager whom unmerciful disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore

of "Ball - Ball Four."


But the billy goat still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

Straight I wheeled my cheap desk chair in front of goat and .jpg and taskbar;

Then, upon the pleather sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous goat of yore-

What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous goat of yore

Meant in bleating out "Ball Four."


This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the beast whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the desk chair's pleathered lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,

But whose pleathered black lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,

He shall rest, ah, nevermore!


Then, mehtought, the air grew fouler, perfumed from an unseen cursor

Spewed by Elia, whose expletives rained on the shag-carpeted floor.

"Wretch," I cried, "the Tribune hath lent thee - by corporate suits it has sent thee.

Respite - respite and malt liquor from thy memories of Prior!

Quaff, oh quaff this cheap malt liquor, and forget this lost Prior!"

Bleat the billy goat, "Ball Four."


"Prophet!" sad I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if goat or devil! -

Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this ivy field enchanted -

On these friendly confines by horror haunted - tell me truly, I impore -

Is there such thing as a "pitching prospect?" - tell me - tell me, I implore!"

Bleat the billy goat, "Ball Four."


"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if goat or devil!

By that press box that bends above us - by that Caray we both adore -

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Hall of Fame,

It shall induct a sainted pitcher whom the angels named Prior -

Induct a rare and radiant pitcher, whom the angels named Prior?"

Bleat the billy goat, "Ball Four."


"Be that term our sign of parting, goat or fiend!" I shrieked upstarting -

"Get thee back into the tempest and Chicago's Michigan shore!

Leave no black poop as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the .jpg above my taskbar!

Take thy horns from out my heart, and take thy form from off my browser!"

Bleat the billy goat, "Ball Four."


And the goat, never lifting,  still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid .jpg of Dallas just above my Windows taskbar:

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,

And the desk-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted - nevermore!


To compare my knock-off with the original, click here

*The inspiration behind The Billy Goat comes from none other than legendary Cubs employee Heinie Massman. As TCR readers know, Heinie was present at the actual Billy Goat incident in 1945. In our conversations, he off-handedly remarked that the Cubs are the greatest American Gothic masterpiece since The Raven.


Rapada down when Ward is activated tomorrow.

Olney reporting Andy McFail is expected to be named Chief Operating Officer of the Orioles…and that he will attempt to bring in Joe Girardi as the new manager.

Great poem. One word - make that two words - of advice: Spell Checker


It had been error-free, before word-press ate the first one.

Corrected, thanks!

That was very well done. Did you count syllables?

Johann - not everywhere, but in a lot of the trickier places, yes. The original poem has some really weird places in it, and I didn't want to diverge TOO far from its structure...

Ugh, there really were a lot of typos, once word-press spat back out the orginal Microsoft document I had tried to cut and paste

Anyway, yeah, I tried pretty hard to be authentic to original..

Nice work, Trans! I especially liked the .jpg of Dallas.

There's a "they" in the fifth stanza from the end that's supposed to be a "thy", I think. Spellcheck not so useful there, is it?

there once was a poet named trans
who chatted with faraway lands
like glenview and lisle
while sipping old style
and d c was one of his fans.

word-press doesn't even HAVE spell-check. So my thoroughly edited ms works document, once it had to be entered into word-press by hand, wound up getting a lot of errors as re-entered it. That, and the billy goat sitting upon my .jpg of Dallas was distracting me.

And thanks, d.c., that got a LOL out of me!

Hope people don't mind this odd turn of TCR on an off-day. Figured it made sense to post something experimental, today.

In other news.....

There once was a pitcher from Pawtucket......
Who told his catcher to....

I think the Cubs might have retaliated yesterday if they had not been conducting a Father's Day Sale, with steep discounts on selected mechandise, in particular the guy playing right field.

Juan Mateo Update:
Last night at Low-A Peoria:
1 1/3 IP, % hits, 1 BB, 0K, 5 ER....not too good.

Can you do Annabel Lee?

Off the top of my head.....

It was many and many a year ago,
In a field by Clark street,
That a baseman there lived whom you may know
By the name of Derrek Lee;
And this baseman he lived with no other thought
Than to hit, and be hit by Z.

Fabulous work, Trans. I hope this doesn't mean all future posts have to mimic great American poets. I'll be looking for a new place to work.

Nice work Trans, I am impressed!


Just a hobby of mine, when I am either very bored or very inspired.

andy mcfail new big man in
baltimore good luck orioles.

Could it get worse for the Orioles?

What are they going to do? Now finish behind the Devil Rays in the 5th instead of ahead of the Devil Rays in 4th?

word-press ate the first one

Glad to know it's not just us commenters.

When the bomb drops, all that will be left on this earth are Cockroaches and Andy McFail. Shocking to see what program he will be running now.

Perlozzo out.

What's Lee Mazzilli doing now? I always liked him and secretly hoped he'd be Dusty's replacement this last off season.

nice Poem Trans. Here is one I just came up with.

Im just ordinary common too, Im just like him and the same as you, Im every bodies brother and son. I aint different than anyone. Ya see talkin to me, is the same as talkin to you.

This is in no way a Bob Dylan ripoff. It isnt. Dont say otherwise.

Another interesting development that nobody has mentioned this year. LouPA has got to have the worst eyesight and hearing in all of MLB. Every time he is asked about something that happens (controversial at least) he claims to have not seen it. When asked about Peavy's comments he hasnt heard them. I can't help but wonder what the hell lou is doing during games?

I can’t help but wonder what the hell lou is doing during games?

Peavy didn't make his comments during a game, so I am not sure how it is relevant.

Alabama paper reporting Donaldson about to sign with Cubs, expects to go to Boise.

"When asked about Peavy’s comments he hasnt heard them. I can’t help but wonder what the hell lou is doing during games?"

He is being fiery!!! Can't you see that?? :) The team must be following his lead, thus all the fighting.

VA Phil -
That's weird about Donaldson going to Boise. Road to Wrigley has an article that says he will be reporting to Arizona on June 24...

Dusty probably packing bags for Baltimore.

Good luck, Corey.


I can hardly wait to reveal this knockoff of The Raven at my Tuesday morning coffee group of other old geezers.


"Dusty probably packing bags for Baltimore."

Hopefully Hendry will be too....

"Every time he is asked about something that happens (controversial at least) he claims to have not seen it. When asked about Peavy’s comments he hasnt heard them. I can’t help but wonder what the hell lou is doing during games?"

of course he saw it...and if he didnt there's always someone in the clubhouse watching the TV broadcast that can tell him 100% what's going on.

its just media crap.

for all the cheerleading and rah rah bullcrap he feeds the media that some fans like...well, its just rah rah bullcrap.

lou's style allows him to mix a bit of trashing the team in the press cuz that's what he's done...and he's paid the price hearing from it from those that dont want their lockerroom aired out in the press.

but it doesnt mean you get full disclosure or absolute truth. its just a media image. little pony show for the papers to mull "fired up" or "lame excuses/blame shifting" over.

Thanks! Send some of them our way, we could use the maturity!

*kicks dirt on transmission*

*looks at him with a scowl*

*starts kicking more dirt*

Jace, I hope he goes to Boise. Gives me another box score to look at when the Cubs lose. (Usually some Cub team is winning a game somewhere.)

Donaldson is Wilken's catcher-of-the-future and will presumably follow in Tyler Colvin's footsteps to Boise this year and, knock wood, advanced A next year.

Fantastic job, Trans.



I'm a little bit disappointed, as I think the 10,000,000 hits I predicted for this piece might be a bit inflated.

I'm adjusting downward, to maybe 5,000,000 unique visits.

I bet Baseball Musings, Hardball Times, et al will pick up this poem. It should be on the front page of

I used to self-promote my special pieces better. Maybe I should do that... 10,000,000 visits, or bust!

And I think you're right. The purported Macias/Neifi blackmail pictures on Dusty, probably could get us to ten million.

you mean 10,000,000 visits or .jpg?

visits, lol. If anybody out there has the Macias or Neifi blackmail pictures, my email is on the right side of the TCR home page...

wow, I didn't mean to refer to any blackmail pictures...was a reference to your replacing Poe's "bust" with ".jpg" (of Pallas vs. Dallas)...

ooooohhhhhhhhhhhh I get it, 10,000,000 visits or bust = bust of Dallas.....

I get confused.

Hey guys,

Check out our poem about the Goat, ever since we came out with it, the Cubs have been on a winning streak so we broke the Goat Curse! See below:

Or, you can watch the YouTube video here:

Everyone loves it and the Cubs are rockin, go Cubbies!

Matt Ballard

Recent comments

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