“Pitcher,” by Robert Francis

I love how this piece highlights the seeming contradictions that one finds in the job of the pitcher, and how everything a pitcher strives to do seems to go against the grain of what everyone else strives to do.  I feel like I could spend hours picking apart the various subtleties and potential interpretations of this piece.  I particularly love the third stanza: “The others throw to be comprehended. He / Throws to be a moment misunderstood.”


His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.

“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!