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The Moment Before


Moments of great tension in baseball do not always depend upon situations alive with dramatic appeal. With a runner on base there is a moment of tension before every pitch. It is the moment when the pitcher casts that last ominous glare toward first before throwing to the plate; when the runner, a coach at his shoulder, gets set to go; when the first baseman, the umpire an anxious kibitzer at his back, prepares to break to cover the bag or to field the ball. It is a moment repeated a hundred times a day

It is the moment when each fielder, regardless of the individual vagaries of stance, seems to settle into rocklike immobility. This is only an appearance. Inside he has become a cocked trigger, a compressed and tightly coiled spring

Half hidden by the swelling of the mound, the second baseman knows that the moment has come to an end with the sweep of the pitcher's arm. The spell has been broken, the tension released. Now it is time to move