“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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