“Cobb Would Have Caught It,” by Robert Fitzgerald

My first thought upon seeing the title of this piece was, “As if Cobb really needed the ego boost?”  But I really love the imagery of this piece — I almost feel as though I was living in the moment.  This poem can be found in Robert Fitzgerald’s Spring Shade: Poems 1931-1970.


In sunburnt parks where Sundays lie,
Or the wide wastes beyond the cities,
Teams in grey deploy through sunlight.

Talk it up, boys, a little practice.

Coming in stubby and fast, the baseman
Gathers a grounder in fat green grass,
Picks it stinging and clipped as wit
Into the leather: a swinging step
Wings it deadeye down to first.
Smack. Oh, attaboy, attyoldboy.

Catcher reverses his cap, pulls down
Sweaty casque, and squats in the dust:
Pitcher rubs new ball on his pants,
Chewing, puts a jet behind him;
Nods past batter, taking his time.
Batter settles, tugs at his cap:
A spinning ball: step and swing to it,
Caught like a cheek before it ducks
By shivery hickory: socko, baby:
Cleats dig into dust. Outfielder,
On his way, looking over shoulder,
Makes it a triple. A long peg home.

Innings and afternoons. Fly lost in sunset.
Throwing arm gone bad. There’s your old ball game.
Cool reek of the field. Reek of companions.

5 thoughts on ““Cobb Would Have Caught It,” by Robert Fitzgerald

  1. i previously attached judgment to the word reek; as if it were foul or bad, but no more; that reek off companions in the last few lines is oranges to me because sometimes the taste of orange juice makes me let out an exaggerated sigh; quenches thirst like nothing else I know.

    1. I suppose reek does typically imply a negative connotation. Interesting how a piece can change our perspectives. I look forward to summer, and stadiums that reek of hotdogs, sweat, dirt, beer, and leather.

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