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Stoop Baseball
By Bob Jacob

First you need the air
that young boys breathe.
Then a Spaldeen ball
with exceptional bounce,
and of course a street with
trees to help deflect
a really long hit,
but with enough openings
for an occasional home run.
The boys must learn
to take a deep breath
just before throwing the ball
at a brick stoop with
at least three steps.

One boy per team,
who, while pitching
on any given day,
may be Freddie Fitzsimmons,
Don Newcombe, Hugh Casey,
Ralph Branca or Preacher Roe.
While in the field he will be
either Pete Reiser or Dixie Walker.

The rules must be clear.
A ball caught on a fly is an out.
A ball going through legs
into the street is a single.
A double is a ball landing
on a fly in the street
before the large tar patch.
A triple is over the patch,
and a home run is all the way
across to the opposite sidewalk.

An occasional car
coming down the street
is all right, but a
careful watch is essential.
Each boy must take acute
aim at the very edge of
a step, throwing the ball
with all his might,
hoping to hit an edge
to give the ball loft
and traveling length
into home run land.
Such a hit is rare
and should be marveled at.

Not really necessary, but
intriguing is a door at the
top of the stoop with
small panes of glass.
The boys should be prepared
to chip in and pay
for a pane now and then.

If, after reading this poem
you have any questions
about this serious, fun sport,
I suggest that you go back
to Queens, New York, in the 1940s
and watch.



BOB JACOB's first book of poetry, The Day Seamus Heaney Kissed My Cheek in Dublin, will be published by the Spirit That Moves Us Press in September 2000.

© 2000 Bob Jacob


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