Friday, October 15, 2021

The Art of the Pitch

My one baseball game of the year I watched yesterday was thoroughly unsatisfying in terms of the excitement that players generate when they actually hit the ball and get on base. This was mostly a game of strikeouts and clearly a pitcher’s game. And yes, there is a subtle drama as the pitcher tries to fool the batter (and yesterday succeeded) with the pitch swerving left or right or down, the speed varying and the unknown of which kind of pitch is coming next. And so I remembered this poem by Robert Francis, comparing writing poetry (or it could be improvising jazz) to pitching: 

 

PITCHER

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.  

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