Soft hands.
You look for that
in a shortstop.
Fallon, our guy,
jittery, eyes flashing,
denied the gift of softness,
played with hard hands,
knocked down hot shots
with wrists, fingertips,
the heel of his glove,
dove, scrambled, ate dirt,
threw to first
planted on his backside.
Jesus, the guy played an ugly short.

One night three of us,
not ten feet from the apron,
watched Fallon bloody and flatten
an overmatched Italian guy
from our city’s tough North End.
Minutes later he would stand in the ring,
arms raised, jittery, eyes flashing,
Champion of the Golden Gloves.
Funny thing about Fallon.
The guy had hands of steel,
but all he really wanted to do
was play short.