To Steal, Or Not to Steal
(With apologies to Shakespeare's "Hamlet")
To steal, or not to steal: that is the question:
Whether 'tis safer in the end to ignore
The pickoff move of a left-handed pitcher
Or to test a catcher's arm on a pitchout
And by testing beat them? To slide: to steal;
Once more; and, by a step to win a base
The thrill and the thousand cheering voices
That success is heir to, 'tis a grand reward.
Greatly to be wish'd. To slide, to steal.
To steal: perchance to win: but, there's a dilemma;
For in that attempt at theft what else may come,
When we have taken leave of the bag,
Must make one ponder. There's the risk
Of a tag-out ninety feet away;
For who could bear the taunts of hometown fans,
The opposition wins, the bold man rejected,
The pangs of victory lost, the umpire's call,
Thumb thrust in air, and the groans
That cascade from your own visiting dugout,
When your coach makes his anger known
With a bold oath? Who would bear that,
To sweat and endure under the public eye,
Is a dread that is worse than death,
The unfamiliar country of bush leaguers
No player desires, confounds the will,
And makes one think twice about attempting a steal.
Why be a goat when first is so safe?
Thus conscience can make a player a coward;
And thus the common thirst for laurels
Is hampered o'er with the cast of second thoughts,
And enterprises of great daring and glory
With this decision their fortunes turn awry,
And deny the claim of hero.