A baseball screams just past the pitcher’s mound.
The hitter leaves the batter's box and knows
that second base is his. But then the sound
of smacking leather freezes him. He knows
without having to look what fate befell
the would-be double: Francisco Lindor.
Opposing coaches wonder, "What the hell?"
when Frankie dives, erasing a sure score.
For many years before Francisco made
the opening day roster, scouts believed
his defense would be strong. When they assayed
his bat, that talent was not well-received.
"His value might be solely in the field,"
some said as he climbed up the minor ranks.
"When Lindor makes the show he’ll be revealed
as unprepared for seasoned arms like Danks."
What fools they were! Yet even those who thought
Lindor might hit well in the major leagues
would not have bet his bat would be this hot;
his first full year in Cleveland? A blitzkrieg.
One hundred sixty one games with the Tribe
and Lindor shows no signs of being weak
when standing at the plate. An All-star vibe
emanates when he rakes. There’s a mystique
surrounding the young shortstop. With a glove
that brings back fond memories of Vizquel,
and offensive production well above
the average for the league, one could foretell
a future bright. In Jeter's first full year
he slashed a line worse than Lindor's, you know.
Young shortstops, twenty-two, with futures clear
and bright ahead of them. Table below.
(If possible, please read this in the flow)
Though twenty years divide the prodigies
stats suggest Lindor's in good company.
Another one with similarities?
Honus Wagner, deadball, last century.
(It's iambic pentameter, you know)
It's difficult to know how similar
these numbers really are. Baseball evolves
as dead balls come to life and steroids blur
the eye test between years. No need to solve
the comparisons now. Lindor's career
may stretch another two decades. Baseball
will never change in how it makes us cheer:
a pitcher slides headfirst, giving his all,
maple cracks deep and blisters a pearl ball
across the cyan sky, a hopeful fan
pleads by the bench for players' uneven scrawls,
a hot dog decked in inches of Bertman.
No matter how Lindor's career comes 'round
(Perpetual All-star? A sad "what-if"?
A first-ballot entrant to Cooperstown?)
his presence on the Tribe has been a gift.
So why not enjoy what we've seen so far
and compare it to baseball's greatest stars?
His talent, displayed nightly at the Jake?
A dream from which fans hope to never wake.