James Russell


Pitch the small white ball with red seams on the sides to the batter.
Hit the ball and sprint around the bases to score.
Field the ball and throw it to the right base.
Seem easy?

Throw the ball 80 MPH or harder, put movement on it, and change speeds drastically to fool the batter.
Hammer the fastball blazing across the plate.
Snag that ball shooting at you.

Now maybe baseball seems harder, but…

Imagine the feeling of hearing the crack of the bat and seeing the ball arc into the sky, over the fence.
Make a diving catch as a dust cloud forms around you.
Throw a twelve to six curveball like Barry Zito,
Hurl a 100 MPH fastball like Billy Wagner,
Deliver an unhittable cutter like Mariano Rivera,
Or dance a knuckleball like Tim Wakefield.

Men playing a boys’ game.
Players earn their millions,
Few can play ball the way they do.
Think of Major League Baseball as being an easy boys’ game,
But playing baseball allows you to imagine what it would take to be in the Majors.

Appreciating the game is what many neglect,
A little kid lobs the ball up like a rainbow to be hit,
A fast white blur blows by you,
The same game?


Copyright © 2002-2007 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose © 2002-2007 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.