THE BETWEENS *

Baseball is hope which lives in the spaces
Between pitches and between innings
Between signals and spitting and grunts and fist pumps
Between beads of sweat and focused eyes
Between sly smiles and eruptions of joy
Between professional men and enthusiastic kids
Between stretches of silence and the crack of the bat
Between a shutout and a ten-run inning
Between checked swings and called strikes
Between routine throws and balls to the backstop
Between the pitcher’s release and fractions of a second of airtime on to fate
Between ninety feet in any given diagonal direction
Between a sliding catch or a three-base error
Between a long single or home run, a fair or foul call
Between a ball and a strike and safe and out
Between patience and tenacity and heroes and villains
Between a starry-eyed rookie and journeyed veteran
Between cheers and cries for Cracker Jacks and beer
Between rallies and double plays, Autumn and Spring
Between mathematical certainty and complete chaos
Between skill and luck
Between rain delays and the on-off dance of the tarp
Between fathers and sons and varied generations
Between neighbors and friends old and new
Between stories and laughs shared
Between foul balls caught and signed by loved players
Between today’s elites and the legends of yesteryear
Between countries and races
Between people in a shared space above and beyond the barriers of society
All because of and between the seams
Of a nine-inch ball that has sailed between centuries
And kept us all together
Watching and waiting and hoping and dreaming
In the spaces between