by Hank Waddles
All eyes are drawn to the hero’s routine
The moment he stands and steps into the night.
He pauses so slightly, surveying the scene,
Then readies to rescue his team from its plight.
It starts all at once with a simple steel ball
Whose weight gently pulls on the golden right arm.
The stakes might be high when the manager calls,
But the Great One reveals not a trace of alarm.
He enters the field as the gate opens wide
And runs with head down towards his stage on the mound.
The crowd claps along, watches each graceful stride,
Lets loose a crescendo of glorious sound.
Each pitch he precedes with a bow to third base,
Then lowers his glove and the ball to his belt.
The batter awaits with fear etched on his face,
The outcome assured though the ball’s not been dealt.
They tell us he throws just one pitch, but they lie.
His fastball can cut, disappear, or explode.
Three pitches in one means as hard as they try,
The batters aren’t hitters, they’re outs to unload.
The first goes down quickly, taps back to the mound,
The next is called out by a pitch on the black.
The third out’s foretold by the hideous sound
Of splintering wood as he makes the bat crack.
It’s five hundred times he’s done this before,
Reacting the same at the end of each game.
A nod towards his catcher, beneath the crowd’s roar,
He steps off the mound towards what’s next: Hall of Fame.