Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One Game at a Time

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   The ball sailed up and over the net behind home plate, coming down quickly between an elderly couple in the next section. An alert spectator behind them reached up and grabbed the foul ball before it landed on the woman's head. The crowed cheered loudly.
   "Nice catch," said Uncle Billy.
   Cheryl thumped a fist into her black Rawlings glove. "Why won't one come this way?"
   "Probably because you're ready for it," I said.
   She frowned and exchanged the glove for the bag of cotton candy that had been occupying her lap. "Just once ... I wish I could get a foul ball." She stuck her hand in the bag and withdrew a wad of the sugary treat.
   I patted her knee. "You will ... keep the faith."
   There was loud crack and another foul ball whistled into the seats behind the visitor's dugout. Before anyone could even react, it hit a railing and bounced high in the air, arching down into the hands of a portly man, wearing an AC/DC tee shirt. Again the crowd applauded.
   "Wow, it's lucky someone wasn't killed by that missile," I said.
   Cheryl patted the glove in her lap. "I could have caught that."
   "Now, if Martinez can straighten out one of those and drive in Fielder, we might have a chance here," said Billy.
   "It's amazing, it seems like the last time you got tickets from Mr. Swanson, we were playing the Royals and struggling to close out a playoff bid," I said.
   Billy rubbed his chin. "You might be right ... anyway, these guys are always tough ... for us anyway."
   "Chris said Mr. Swanson gave you four tickets ... couldn't you find anyone else to invite?" asked Cheryl.
   Billy smiled. "You mean like Clara?"
   Cheryl blushed. "Well, yes, now that you mention it."
   There was another crack of Martinez's bat. The crowd gasped as it soared majestically toward the right field stands, then, and audible sigh arose when hooked just outside the foul pole.
   "Man, that was close," I said.
   "He's gettin' the measure of this guy," said Billy.
   "So, did you ask?" said Cheryl.
   "Ask what?" said Billy.
   "Clara ... did you ask Clara if she wanted to come to the game?"
   Billy grabbed his beer from the cup holder in front of him and took a long swallow. He wiped his chin with his free hand. "She was busy."
   "Oh, so you did ask her." said Cheryl.
   There was another loud crack from Martinez's bat. A screaming grounder headed between the short stop and second base. Alcides Escobar dove to his left and snagged the ball before it could reach the outfield. He rose quickly to his knees and flipped the ball to a waiting Chris Getz, Getz tagged second, whirled and fired a strike to Hosmer to complete a neat double play. Another audible sigh rose from the crowd as potential rally was snuffed out.


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