Joey Nicoletti

Joey Nicoletti

To Sal Fasano

Sal, you wore many uniforms

in your career

in The Show:
Royals. Phillies.

Yankees, A’s,

And Blue Jays,

to name a few.
You rocked your tapered tendril

moustache; you called

a good game,

and you and your spouse named

your sons Santino,

Angelo, and Vincenzo.

You took one deep

in a game I saw

in Kansas City:

the smile on your face

as you rounded the bases

was as sweet and delightful

as my mother’s Tiramisu. 

To Rick Bosetti

Dear Mr. Bosetti:
has anyone enjoyed being

a Toronto Blue Jay

more than you?

This can’t be measured

by any statistic

or with any known technology.

But when I see a picture

of you online, I’m taken

with the mischievous look

in your eyes; your toothy smile,

and your bushy moustache,

all of which reminds me

of my father, on a hot afternoon

at his place of work,

when he filled the air conditioner

in his boss Mr. C’s office

with talcum powder,

earlier in the day.
We watched Mr. C walk

into his office. My father told me

to wait outside with him.

A minute or so passed.

Mr. C yelled

my father’s name.

Then he emerged

from his office,

covered in powder.
My father asked him

if something was wrong

with the air conditioner.

Mr. C growled like a tiger

and chased him down

a stairwell, leaving a trail

of powder in the air.  

That you had a vowel

at the end of your surname;

that you once had more assists

than any other centerfielder

in the American League;

that you sipped Labatt’s Blue

as you talked to reporters;

that you claimed to have urinated

in every stadium outfield

you played in—during games—

made you seem familiar,

like a crazy uncle or cousin:

as if you and my father

would entertain each other

with your workplace banter,

as well as everyone else

gathered for Sunday dinner

or a summer cook-out;

spits of laughter

flooding the grill,

two fireflies

flickering in crab grass.

To Tony Lazzeri


Mr. Lazzeri, my Grandfather Joe told me:
his pride in being a first generation Italian
American was never greater,

never more swollen

than when you hit two grand slams; “two

salamis” in a game; the first

person to do so in The Show,

and you also had another round-tripper

that day in May

of 1936; and he met Mary,

his future wife,

my grandmother that night,

who made his jaw drop

like a fire escape ladder

on an Arthur Avenue walk-up. 

To Frank Catalanotto

Dear Mr. Catalanotto:
you are the Sultan

of Smithtown Swat.
You played left field,

first, and third base

as adroitly

as Mike Massimino spacewalked.

You hit the ball

with determination,

as if you were grinding

through traffic on the L.I.E.;

the shooting stars of line drives

crashing in Arlington alleyways

and gaps, nebulas of dust

and dirt rising

as you run and slide,

Long Island Sound water

streaming through

your San Margherita veins.

To Vince DiMaggio

Dear Mr. DiMaggio,

I wish I could have heard you sing

when guests asked you to do so

at your family’s restaurant. Your swing

had a hole, but you smacked

125 homers during your stay

in The Show. Fans packed

Forbes Field to watch you play.

You and the Pirates fought

over money spent on a steak,

which is why you sought

a trade; a clean break.

You went down swinging.

You never stopped singing.


Joey Nicoletti was born in New York City. He works in Buffalo.