Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Slammer – An Ever Growing Web Novel – Chapter 1.1

The audibly intense, almost violent sounding crack that fills the air is common place here at Holman Stadium, which coincidentally was the very first place that actually allowed the first professional black baseball players to play alongside the white baseball players, in the racially segregated post World War 2 America. Here in the twenty first century it is merely a footnote to the history that is being made here again. It is the season opener here, and the fans are packed in as they always are when the pride of the team is on the mound, but other than that the park is merely a forgotten treasure in America. Out of the ashes of the forgotten field that the park had become over the last half century, two incredibly over dressed men were sitting in the bleachers off to the left of home plate holding a radar gun, and whispering amongst them.

The crowd here knows its role quite well as the silence in the park would be almost as deafening, had it not been for the hum of the PA system. The loud crack whenever the baseball would hit the leather of the catcher’s mitt, seemingly with the force of a .357 magnum yet feared far more than that, as you can tell from the man standing so awkward, so alone, beside the plate awaiting his punishment for daring to face the far more imposing man sixty feet away. People around the two men kept trying to shush them up, every time they would whisper, and it was amazing the gospel of watching a pitcher go into his wind up as it was imposed upon you by the rest of the fan base.

The older of the two gentlemen fumbled around with the radar gun a bit more as the younger, and obviously more important of the two men, stood up with the rest of the crowd, just as silent, and equally in awe of the “Adonis Like” figure standing in the middle of the diamond. His towering frame, and his blank stare that is everything that a community would not so secretly yearn for in the man controlling the sacred defense of the home town warriors as he mercilessly beats back the failing offense of the enemies that dared to come to our home in hopes of glory. Glory that has never been found when facing this sacred defender of the holy temple of baseball, that the town people of Nashua have so greatly enjoyed looking up to. The defender of this great palace shows not a hint of emotion as he receives his weapon from the plate, and stands far more towering as the younger gentleman, see’s his outline marked in the setting sun, about to make prey of this victim yet again.

The very look of intent on this man, this God, as he sets forth his windup, body arching back, hands full extension, glove hand pointing downward, yet towards the terrified man who dare face the mighty Thor, bearing only a wooden stick that so timidly rests upon his weak shoulder. The hand clutching the fierce bolt of lightning to be launched upon this lunatic David, without the aid of God, sets back for what seems like an eternity as his tree trunk of a leg slowly rises toward the sky. Again the younger gentleman in the crowd looks upon this with the awe of a child at his very first baseball game, and the total silence that sets upon the field creates the drama needed to understand what is about to happen. The two men have been witnessing it for over an hour now, but with each pounding of the sacred sphere, it gets a little more awe inspiring then the last.

With the force of thousand horses, the awkwardly positioned young Hero set forth on a violent sweeping thrust forward that shot the mere baseball forward with such force that in the silence that the audience provided, you could actually hear the searing noise of an object moving faster than the air around it could usually allow. The sonic crack that the freshly hurled baseball made was instantaneous, as the crowd rumbled into thunderous applause, before the umpire could even raise his hand to signal that another enemy, the LAST enemy for this day, had been vanquished by the mighty God like entity that still stands there as if he is expecting the baseball to be thrown back to him.

The older of the two gentlemen in the crowd holds the back of the radar gun toward the gaze of the younger man, as the entire team surrounds the man in the middle of the diamond, who still hasn’t changed that stone like look on his face. The digital readout on the back of the gun had three numbers, a one, a zero, and a five, in that order to be exact, and the older gentleman finally speaks out to the younger, with “Ninety Seven pitches and he ends the game with a One hundred and five mile per hour fast ball that totally paralyzed that guy,” but it appears to have fallen on deaf, or at the very least confused ears. Shaking his head he starts to put the equipment back into the briefcase.

The younger man clears his throat, and begins to start what he appears to hope will be a lucid sentence, but you can tell that there is a little confusion, or maybe it is concern at this point upon his face, but no matter as he says out loud, “This kid has been striking out over 150 batters a year for 2 full years now, and why are we the only two scouts here John?” after looking at the face of the other man that is so obviously now trying to avoid his stare, he then adds, “Don’t get me wrong, that was the most impressive thing I have seen in all of my years of baseball, so I assume that whatever the hell his baggage is, it’s really bad, and I better know before I go put my head on a stake to get this kid in a Red Sox uniform.”

John, the older of the two, timidly starts his reply to what was so expertly deduced from his supervising scout with, “Well he has a few quirks that need ironing out, like … um … he’ll only pitch for the catcher you saw out there with him today, which could present a problem,” and he then went about frantically trying to get the stuff put away again.

“I can’t see that being too much of a problem, that guy was a pretty good catcher, most teams have allowed really special pitchers to drag a catcher along with them if he is at least …”

“She” John interrupted as his boss looked upon him with that look of “Excuse me?” upon his face, thus forcing John to add, “It’s his sister, and he refuses to pitch for anyone other than his sister, well … kind of …” he trails out a bit, like he knows more, and the younger man refuses to acknowledge a thing until he continues with his tail, which he finally does, “He’s severely autistic, and he won’t acknowledge anyone else. I talked to the manager, and they tried every catcher they could get their hands on. It stopped being an issue anyway, since this is independent double A ball in Podunk New Hampshire, nobody really cares, and as you said, she’s actually a great hitter with excellent catching skills, but …”

“But it’s still a total waste of my time to try to be watching a pitcher who is mentally handicapped and his sister playing baseball, no matter how good they are!” the younger man shouted back at him, almost creating a scene with the crowd that is still around them, and obviously NOT very happy with someone making brash statements about their deities around here.

“Look Chris, I realize that it seems that way, but this is a tandem that is a guaranteed 20 wins a year to the ball club, and that is really all that matters. This isn’t the 40’s anymore, and bullshit like this shouldn’t be an issue anymore. I’m sorry but I am a sixty two year old guy, who should be the one here who cares irrationally about these things, and I don’t, I just love the game, and I love watching both of them play. I felt like I was watching Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, the first time I saw them, and I want to give the world that gift!” … to be continued