Baseball as Etiquette
by Josephine Jacobsen
Baseball is etiquette made beautiful.
A quality pitch is fact, not rumor;
style is high. Do they say to the dangerous batter
who has walked, "Joe, take first?" Never, never.
The catcher, tall as fate, looms over,
his mammoth hand held high,
and the ball thunks his glove in perfect logic,
before the batter tosses his bat.
And when a batter trots back to triumphant home,
does he get his high-fives only from those
with whom he has a beer?
His worst enemy, if he has one,
is perfect in ritual; even in home glory
the pattern holds until the park
is emptied of the ball.
The famous three-movement, velocity, location—
are sacred and do not bow. When the dark takes the diamond
and the unforgiving brown circle of loneliness,
a covenant has been confirmed.
"Baseball as Etiquette" by Josephine Jacobsen, from Contents of a Minute. © Sarabande Books, 2008.