Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Slammer – An Ever Growing Web Novel – Chapter 2.4

Lily was able to catch on to Jack’s motion and feel for his pitches relatively easy during his warm ups, so it gave her mind time to wander towards other things, like how Jay is doing. He’s never had to be without her during game times before. She left him staring at his locker when she made her trip to the bullpen with Jack, and she figured that at the absolute worst, he would simply sit there for the game. Of course the new and improved Captain Random really hasn’t been acting up since yesterday, but then again, he hasn’t given her any reason to believe that he was going to sit and be quiet either. It’s hard when you don’t have a clue what someone is thinking, especially when they have proven that you definitely don’t know what they are thinking for so long.

Lily notes as she watches Jack that his mechanics change dramatically from pitch to pitch, like he is trying to find a spot that doesn’t hurt as much, and yes it is that obvious, but she also understands that he knows what he is doing, so she finds it to be none of her business all the same. She does wonder if it is a good idea to jaw at him about pitching like an old man, because it’s kind of funny when you think of it. He throws so much harder than ninety percent of the major leagues as it is, but still a good ten miles per hour slower than what she is used to. Other than the split second of timing difference, his accuracy is quite comparable to Jay’s so there doesn’t appear to be any guess work involved.
Jack finally makes the sign that he is done warming up, and Lily starts stretching her legs, in preparation for the next couple of hours of hell that she is going to put on her knees. Squatting is not the easiest thing to do for hours on end, especially with protective equipment. Who knew that all of the ballet lessons would make her a better catcher in the major leagues, but she heard rumors that she wasn’t the first to try it either.

Finally the music starts playing to signify the start of the game, and Lily says quite plainly to Jack as they wait for the doors to the bullpen to open, “Do you feel better when you throw up before you go out there, because I think I might try it?” and then adds a nervous giggle to the end of it.

“Too late now sister I went and threw up before my warm ups, now you are probably going to be more embarrassed by how much of it ends up on you for the entire game,” and the second he finishes what he says the security guard opens the bullpen door, and Jack and Lily start there decent to their positions on the field to rousing ovations from the crowd. Lily assumes that it is the usual when the ace pitcher goes out to the mound, but she starts hearing women yelling, “WE LOVE YOU LILY!” from the seats and realizes again that she is about to make history for the fourth or fifth time in two weeks. She doesn’t think it gets any easier in the least, and she is actually feeling a little nauseous this time, but she does her best to get to the plate where she belongs, and hopefully will feel better in place behind it.

As she takes her place along the first base line for the national anthem she starts to really feel dizzy. The churning in Lily’s stomach went from butterflies to hungry pigeons before the bombs could start bursting in air. By the time the flag was pronounced to still be there, she was starting to turn a rather nasty shade of green, to the point that the other team standing on the third base line immediately started pointing over at her. She of course had to notice this and the pigeons were now starting to feel more like dragons. As the land of the free was bellowing out through the stands, she finally couldn’t hold on any more as she starts throwing up all over the first base line to the rousing ending on home of the brave.

She could feel Jack’s hand slapping on her back, and his voice barely through her own retching saying, “That’s it kid, let it all out. They hate to stop the game for this, but don’t worry they have,” and despite the levity that was being made as Lily still wrenches her body over in painfully explosive vomiting, the cold sweats from throwing up were making her feel a lot better.

The manager and the team trainer were both standing in front of her now, and the vomiting starts coming out at the same time as her chuckling, which coincidentally made it all that much painful, as the peanut gallery was adding their comments. Tug’s “We’re just standing here so that less people in the stands start throwing up on cue,” or “You’re still catching tonight Lily, I tried that my last year, and Jack still made ME catch,” until finally she was able to straiten herself up, quite shocked  actually at some of the humorous things being yelled from the stands as well. Her favorite probably for the rest of her playing days, which she is starting to think might be limited to today was, “Look Dad, she pukes in front of her coworkers too!”

Lily picks up her catchers mask off of the ground that she fortunately had missed, with her projectile vomiting, and crouched down behind the plate for a few warm up tosses, while the ground crew cleans up the mess. The umpire gets in on the humor as well, as he says to her, “They didn’t get that good at it by accident, they have plenty of practice, it’s amazing what I have to see while the TV cameras go into the crowd,” and you guessed it, winks at her.

Jack throws in his customary three warm up pitches. He has always thrown three warm up pitches ever since the one time he threw five to work out a kink many years ago. Eleven runs and two innings later, he was sitting on the bench watching the long reliever pitching for him and totally giving in to his first and only pitching jinx. Even the great Jack Foster has one, and Lily already knew that because the media makes note of it every game. Well that and the stupid “moon walk” he did off the mound his first year, and first injury, in the league.

The best lead off hitter in the league is making his way to the plate right now, and he is the reason why the first place Blue Jays, have that half game lead on the Yankees. If you keep Christian Washington off base, then your chances of winning increase monumentally. Problem with that is he is hitting at .448 which this far into the season is incredible. His on base percentage now totals an insane .602 which just goes to show, you can tell the pitch is a ball, because he didn’t swing at it. He seems rather charming as he immediately says to Lily as he walks into the batters box, “We’ve all done, it’s no big deal, even the season ticket holders just kinda expect it,” and then gives her a smile.

Lily giggles a bit, as he takes his warm up swings and then points his bat out toward the mound, like most batters do, signaling that he is ready. Lily was giggling because of the first thing that crossed her mind “Too bad Jack’s gonna make an ass out of ya, you seem rather pleasant,” which she did keep to herself. She sticks her hand between her legs and sticks three fingers down and brings them over to her left thigh. Jack nods at her as he knew she was signaling for a splitter in. Jack smiles because in his mind it was the perfect call, anything middle that isn’t a little tricky is going to be slapped into the outfield with this guy, and it takes a good pitcher catcher team to keep him out of the base paths, where he is going to create chaos.

Facing the mound, Jack like Jay, also has that typical brim down starting point to his delivery, but from there it is the difference of describing the hammer thrust by the mighty God of Thunder and the wielder of the mystical Excalibur, King Arthur. The way Jacks gloved hand and his pitching hand, clutched to the ball points strait up to the sky, as he enters his wind up. You can almost see the glimmering sword to which he is about to slay the enemy, just to be led astray by the shimmering dagger that is outstretched to it’s maximum defiance behind him, while the lightning quick reflexes of the slyest thief unleashes that dagger forward to slice through the air until it pierces the lower abdomen of the plate.

“Steeeeeerrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiikkkkke!” yells out the umpire as one of the rare times that CW, as all the fans call him, doesn’t swing at a strike. Being the type of overly emotional nut bag that Jack is, he shows the same enthusiasm that he probably would have if it were the last strike of the World Series. Twenty something years the other teams have wanted to knock that showmanship out of him, and it has made young hitters bitter old men. CW just looks down at Lily after she throws the ball back to Jack with a smile shaking his head at Jacks antics.

Lily places her hand between her legs and places two fingers to the right, so that Jack recognizes sinker out, which Jack again smiles and nods, before he gets into his stance. The visor points downward, the hands reach up to the sky, they gracefully pull an inward arc, before spreading outward to launch forward again that lethal dagger that cuts downward at the precise time that the bat slices into it, or should we note, on top of it, as the very weak ground ball simply bounces once right into Jacks glove. Two steps towards first, a throw, and CW gets set down on two pitches, and hardly any running, as he barely made it half way to first before the base was tagged … to be continued