It’s a blustery, snow-swept day at Fenway… here’s the pitch, Jeter hits a scorcher to second… Dustin “Ditto” Pedroia glides into position… scoops… wheels… throws to first…
Our stickball team played for the championship last year, said Ditto. Really? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, I was the starting rightfielder. Did Dustin Pedroia ever play rightfield? said Virginia. He must have when he was young, said Ditto, everyone begins in rightfield. Really? said Virginia. I thought the rightfielder was the worst player on the team. No, no, no, said Ditto, I led the league in on-base percent. Really? said Virginia. What was your batting average? I didn’t get any hits, said Ditto, but I had 86 walks and one out. Like Eddie Gaedel, said Virginia. Eddie Gaedel? said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia, the shortest man to ever play in the majors. He was three feet seven inches tall, came to bat once in 1951, and walked on four pitches. His lifetime on-base percentage is 1.000. Really? said Ditto. Three feet seven is the shortest ever? I think so, said Virginia. Hmm, said Ditto, I wonder if Dustin Pedroia lies about his height?
I guess there’s not much snow in Borneo, said Blurtso. No, said Harlan, but there are many palm trees. I like palm trees, said Blurtso. So do I, said Harlan, there’s nothing like napping in a palm grove… listening to the wind in the leaves, and feeling the shadows on your skin. Yes, said Blurtso, a palm grove is a great place to nap, and so is a recliner, under a palapa next to the sea. Yes, said Harlan, there’s nothing like napping to the sound of waves, with a cap pulled down on your eyes. A Red Sox cap? said Blurtso. Of course, said Harlan. The snow is nice too, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, there’s nothing like napping in a loft, with a cup of hot cocoa, listening to the slosh of cars in the street. Yes, said Blurtso, or napping under an oak, on a summer day, in an empty field in Maine. I still can’t believe, said Harlan, the Red Sox didn’t win the World Series.
My store is open! said Blurtso.
I don’t know, said Pablo, you may need more flags.
Who’s your favorite Red Sox player? said Harlan. I don’t know, said Blurtso. How about you? said Harlan. I’m a Yankee fan, said Alex. Jeter? said Harlan. Of course, said Alex. We should go to a game, said Harlan. I can get three tickets for this afternoon, said Alex, but we’ll be in the sun in rightfield, so make sure to wear a cap.
Wow! said Blurtso. Look at that grass!
It’s the seventh-inning stretch, said Alex, where’s Blurtso?
Big Papi, said Harlan, has sure come back strong from his injury. His injury? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, his Achilles. His Achilles? said Blurtso, I thought Achilles was the name of a Greek god. Yes, said Harlan, a Greek warrior, but it’s also the name of the tendon that connects the heel to the calf. Are there other parts of the body, said Blurtso, named after people? There’s the Adam’s apple, said Harlan. Hmmm, said Blurtso, why does Big Papi grab his Hercules before each pitch?
What’s this? said Blurtso. It’s the Baseball Encyclopedia, said Alex, the complete statistical record of every man to ever play Major League Baseball. Wow, said Blurtso, it’s like a history book written with numbers instead of letters. Exactly, said Alex. Who is the greatest player of all time? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex. Or Ted Williams, said Harlan. Which one is it? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex, hit 714 homeruns, a record which lasted for forty years. Yes, said Harlan, but Ted Williams hit 521 homeruns, and he missed five seasons due to military service. So? said Alex. If he had played those years, said Harlan, and averaged 36 homeruns per year, which is what he averaged for his career, he would have hit 700 homeruns as well. Who had the higher batting average? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth batted .342, said Alex. Ted Williams batted .344, said Harlan. Who was a better defensive player? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex, until he got fat. Has anyone else hit 700 homeruns? said Blurtso. Yes, said Alex, Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Willie Mays hit 660, said Harlan, and he missed two years in the military, so he would have hit 700. Who is the best defensive player in that group? said Blurtso. Willie Mays, said Alex, but Barry Bonds was also exceptional. Better than Babe Ruth? said Blurtso. Much better, said Harlan. Then why, said Blurtso, isn’t Barry Bonds the best player ever? Because, said Alex, he played in the steroids era. Who was the greatest all-around player, offense and defense? said Blurtso. Probably Willie Mays, said Alex. Or Barry Bonds, said Harlan. But Babe Ruth, said Alex, is the greatest player of all time. Or Ted Williams, said Harlan.
Two outs, bottom of the ninth, one strike from the championship… here’s the pitch… a swing… it’s a long flyball… the centerfielder leaps… she’s got it!… no… she drops it!… it’s headed to rightfield…
The rightfielder has it it!… no… he drops it!… but here comes the centerfielder!…
Break out the cocoa and pumpkin pies! We made a clean sweep of all the awards, said Pablo. Harlan won the homerun title, Alex won the golden hoof award, Bonny led the league in wins, I had the highest batting average, Ditto had the best on base percentage, and Blurtso hit into the most double plays.
ab h 2b 3b hr rbi r bb so hbp ba obp slg dp
Blurtso 89 11 0 0 1 4 6 0 51 0 .124 .124 0.157 26
Harlan 66 32 6 0 25 89 46 29 26 0 .484 .642 1.727 5
Alex 96 49 9 26 3 23 53 5 3 0 .510 .535 1.343 0
Ditto 1 0 0 0 0 6 52 86 1 7 .000 .989 0.000 0
Bonny 82 53 5 1 6 44 36 11 4 0 .646 .688 0.951 3
Pablo 75 56 24 6 9 77 50 18 0 0 .747 .796 1.587 2
w l ip h bb so hr era
Bonny 10 2 102 123 4 71 17 9.63
I forgot to water my pumpkins this morning, thought Pablo, I wonder what the temperature is today?
The zoo is open until dusk, thought Harlan, and the elephant cage is right by the entrance.
I wonder, thought Ditto, if Dustin Pedroia ever played rightfield?
Ditto’s birthday is tomorrow, thought Bonny, I hope the Dustin Pedroia jersey isn’t too small.
The team is really focused today, thought Alex, the championship is as good as won.