Where is my umpire? I need to call time. Please, if only for a moment, I want to be immune.

Winning is an addiction. The more you do, the more you need just to stay even. Falling from up high is harder. But not as hard as losing is. You wouldnít want to get used to that. Then itís not a game anymore; then itís occupation. Youíre not the kind to surrender.

The Day the Pitcher Broke His Arm

I didn't hear the pop, but I saw him writhing. I saw the catcher run up to him and pat the pitcherís back but too he stroked it like a kitten. And cradled his head, light in his fingertips, not heavy in the palm of his hand.

That kind of tenderness, it's not the kind of thing you want to witness.

Hope is a weapon, each side uses it differently. I fuel up on mine, you pommel me with it, or vice versa. The battle only ends short term. We take this war up again, timeless, unwinnable. Time is a crocus, brand new each spring, always young again; seeming younger each year as you yourself grow old.

Pitchers and Catchers Report

In Florida and Arizona today there are old men waving players into parking lots and nodding at men their grandson's age as if they were old friends. They are silently evaluating the look of the new ones; the condition of the older ones. They offer no comment until dinnertime tonight, when they sit over scotch with wife or friend and offer up their speculations for the season ahead, which always looks good from here; that and a little bit of gossip, mostly regarding who's kind to old men, and who isn't.

Being so close Ė it used to be enough for you. Youíre loyal, yes, hey everyone thinks so. But itís natural in any relationship of this duration that affection builds and ebbs. Maybe someone else looks good to you, and maybe hey youíre tempted. But it doesnít really matter if you donít get caught and asked youíd never admit it. Itís always brief, such an affair, since the things that drove you to it are strangely universal. Nothing is always perfect.

Handing a Ball to a Child

There are things you want as a child and sometimes you get them. Sometimes you don't and sometimes they just fade away, you don't want them anymore but sometimes you do, you still do but you are too old to get them now.

Sometimes you can give something and sometimes you do. Sometimes someone wants it, sometimes no one does and sometimes maybe even just once you become a strangerís favorite memory.

Where is my umpire? I need to call time. Please, if only for a moment. I want just stand here, take it all in a little longer.