A Poetic Pitch for Bad Hair Days

Channeling his inner poet, Kramer pleads for support of Jeff Kramer Follicle Night at NBT Stadium

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Jeff Kramer August Five.
He’d be throwing out the first pitch, with few follicles still alive.
The Syracuse Chiefs OK’ed this lark, because its GM knew
That while the cause was dubious, he was a sufferer, too.

Yet despite his glaring baldness, Jason Smorol backtracked fast.
Jeff Kramer Follicle Night, the GM feared, might come off rather crass.
His statement stressed the club’s support of causes good and true:
“Why’s Kramer coming to the ballpark?” he asked. “I really have no clue.”

Against this dreary backdrop, poor Kramer pressed ahead.
He dusted off his lefty mitt, last used before he shed.
In Little League he had been cut, then brought back just to pitch.
The coach had tried and tried and tried to find the kid a niche.

His fastball had had movement, velocity as well.
He looked imposing on the mound, ferocious as all hell.
The trouble came when with his arm the baseball he would throw.
No one, least of all Kramer, could guess where it would go.

The screams of stricken batters and mothers in the bleachers
Showed talents perhaps better suited for… submitting newspaper features.
So could it be that he again would stride upon the hill,
This 53-year-old Southpaw, turned anti-baldness shill?

Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times

Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times

He worried about his replacement knee and his achy shoulder.
He worried that the cowhide orb would feel like a big boulder
But one affliction hurt Kramer most, it was the worst of all.
Kramer, who had once had hair, was now, like, really bald.

A procedure that would make things right or partially at least
Involved transplanting follicles to where production ceased.
But mighty Kramer had struck out trying to raise dough
Just 60 dollars had been pledged — $8,440 to go.

A plan was hatched for Follicle Night: He’d even yell, “Play Bald!”
Then he’d man a table with the hope that he could raise it all.
Where fans could buy a follicle for eight dollars, 50 cents,
And heal this local eyesore, a bare scalp full of dents.

Ten days before the Big Event, he arranged a pitching clinic
At NBT Bank Stadium. His toss would be no gimmick.

The pitching coach and half the staff would watch him bring the heat.
But first the coach asked Kramer this:
“ …Who threw up on your cleats?”

That was, of course, a little joke. It’s what ballplayers do
To pass the time in places like Durham and Syracuse.
They worked on Kramer’s follow-through: They said his front side’s dead.
He told them that for years and years that’s what his wife has said.

Taylor Hill was super-cool, Bruce Billings never dull.
With Bruce he felt a special bond: The sun shone off his skull.
A two-seam fastball felt the best. The four-seam wasn’t right.
But the real goal is to unbald Kramer. It starts next Wednesday night.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land a pate is shining bright,
As a skillful surgeon has a nurse adjust the light.
And somewhere men are laughing, and children they laugh, too.
But there’ll be no joy in Syracuse until Kramer needs shampoo.

Jeff Kramer Follicle Night takes place Wednesday, Aug. 5, 7:05 p.m., as the Syracuse Chiefs take on the Pawtucket Red Sox at NBT Bank Stadium, 1 Tex Simone Drive. For ticket information, call 474-7833 or visit



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