SAN FRANCISCO — The Boys of Summer. The crack of the bat as it crushes the ball, the magical feeling you get as you gaze upon the freshly cut grass and infield dirt, the sun smiling down upon you in a cloudless blue sky.

The aroma of hot dogs, adult beverages and garlic fries — the poetry.

What? The poetry?

Poets and baseball enthusiasts alike gathered this week at The Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Public Library to celebrate the beginning of the baseball season and National Poetry Month.

The event centered on musings on legends such as Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth and current subjects such as San Francisco's two Barrys, Bonds and Zito, and the A's winning ways.

It was emceed by John Oliver Simon, a published poet, translator, teacher and Giants fan. He started off the event Tuesday night by declaring that he is almost old enough to start for his beloved team.

"One of the great things about baseball is it brings together imagination and reality," said Jeff Brain, a poet who participated in the event.

Two main highlights of the night were the baseball limericks of published baseball historian and San Francisco State professor Jules Tygiel, who had the crowd in hysterics, and a powerful reading by the poet laureate of San Francisco, Jack Hirschman.

"It's no accident that a great poet like Jack Hirshman, who is centrally a political poet, he is well read in many languages, his concerns are wide ranging, and here he comes up with a gut-wrenching baseball poem," Simon said.

Hirschman, an internationally acclaimed poet, translator, essayist, scholar and humanistic activist, has published more than 100 books of poetry and essays. Mayor Gavin Newsom chose him to be poet laureate in January 2006.

Simon believes that there is a poetic nature within the game of baseball. According to him, the draw to poetry from the game is stronger than any other sport because baseball exists in the moment, unlike football or basketball, popular sports that aren't as predominant in poetry and literary works.

"There are these moments that you remember for 30 years or 50 years," he said. "There is something about baseball that is symbolic, it is literary, it is mathematical. There is a whole world that appeals to the way our brains are structured, so it is natural for poetry to come out."

The event was free and sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Center For the Art of Translation. Poems were read in Spanish, Japanese and English.