Yo-Yo's With Money
September 14th, 1977
Yankees vs Red Sox
Yankee Stadium, The Bronx
A signature element of New York School art is the artist playing with the art’s medium. Ted Berrigan loved to experiment and toy with the medium of the sonnet, twisting and molding it in creative new ways. In Yo-Yos With Money, and later Beaned In Boston, Berrigan and Harris Schiff aim for a creative new spin on America’s pastime, baseball.
The baseball broadcast is the medium through which most fans, at least at the time of the creation of Yo-Yo’s With Money, consumed baseball. Baseball announcers, translating the action into a lyrical story consumable over the airwaves. They were stars in their own right: names like Vin Scully, Phil Rizzuto, Bob Uecker and Harry Caray and their voices are as closely tied to their teams in the heart of fans that they are often bigger stars than the players on the field. Berrigan and Schiff decide to appropriate the role of the commentator in the creation of Yo-Yo’s With Money and Beaned in Boston. As New York School poets, there is no way they would have simply attended a game and recorded themselves, so they did what any self-respecting New York School poet would do: they dropped acid (among other drugs).
The biggest difference between a traditional baseball broadcast and Berrigan and Schiff’s is the direction of focus. Berrigan and Schiff’s attention wanders over the course of their “broadcast”. Unlike professional commentators who have a duty to clearly convey the events of the game to their audience, Berrigan and Schiff feel no such pressure. Unburdened by the responsibility of a live audience, Berrigan and Schiff allow the listener to fully experience the atmosphere of the ballpark. Berrigan and Schiff spend nearly as much time cracking jokes, laughing at each other
and discussing fights breaking out around the stadium as describing the game taking place on the field. Nevertheless, they still try to maintain a structure similar to that of a traditional broadcast. As the recording progresses, Berrigan and Schiff begin to understand the difficulty of such a broadcast, and experience a growing appreciation for the Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto. The experience of reading such a work as Yo-Yo’s With Money is refreshing. It is simultaneously familiar, comforting, unexpected and exciting. It is The American Pastime, experienced from a unique and fun angle. Along with the Yo-Yo’s With Money transcription, this page includes the original scorebook, scorecard (recorded by Schiff at the game), digitized newspaper clippings of the game recap, pictures of Berrigan and Schiff heading to the game, and the full statistical recap of the game via baseball-reference.com.