Again, thanks to Carolee for pulling me out of my doldrums. Sometimes it's good to have a focus so writing about baseball helped.
I guess I like writing about pitchers. The pitcher (and the catcher, to a certain extent) control pace of the game. But I like middle relievers, the ones who come in after the starting pitcher exits. Relievers carry the game until the closer comes in. Starters and closers get all the attention, but the guys who pitch the 7th and 8th innings are where it's at. They do the grunt work.
Shake your fingers,
let your tree trunk arms
dangle below your belt.
Under the surface,
a river of lava begins to seethe.
This is who you are.
Feel the muscles unfurl
above your forehead.
Let go of the voices
calling for your destruction.
The grimace around your mouth
gives away too much in this moment,
which is all you have. Runners at the corners?
You’ve got this. If the catcher throw signs at you,
throw them right back. Give ‘em
the split-seam, high heat all the way.
A double steal is in play—don’t get rattled,
you’re made of pure will. Start the play
around the horn: one-six-thee—
double play! The runner will argue the call.
Benches clear, but it’s over before it begins.
End of inning. Your job is done.
You are a stop gap. Take a deep breath.
Listen to the crowd. Remember
that you live for this.