“The Base Stealer,” by Robert Francis

Base-stealing is easily one of my favorite plays in baseball.  It requires more than just speed — it requires an ability to read a pitcher, a good sense of timing, and great reflexes.  I like how this poem by Robert Francis captures the dance of the base runner as he waits for that perfect moment to take off.

*

Poised between going on and back, pulled
Both ways taut like a tight-rope walker,
Fingertips pointing the opposites,
Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball,
Or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on!
Running a scattering of steps sidewise,
How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,
Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,
He’s only flirting, crowd him, crowd him,
Delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate – Now!



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