Thursday, May 3, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Complete Game, excerpt four)

from Ron Darling's The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball and the Art of Pitching:

It was a beautiful night as I slipped through the gate to the parking area beyond the fence, and the Shea crowd was making noise, willing Roger to put the Cardinals away. Fifty thousand people can really make themselves heard when things are going their way, so I started to project the scenario for the rest of the night and the rest of the season in best-case terms. Just then, as I approached the overhang that protected my car, the crowd went suddenly quiet.

I knew that meant there'd been a long drive by an opposing hitter, so I held my breath for a moment and listened for a clue to what might happen next. But the silence held. For the longest time, it held. It was a killing hush, and it was finally broken by a sickening hissing sound. It was like a missile, whistling past, and when my eyes caught up to it I could see a baseball short-hopping into the door of my Mercedes. It was the strangest thing. It took me a beat or two to process it. Terry Pendleton had belted a two-run home run to the right of the home-run apple--he'd managed to tie the game, erase the lead I'd left behind, and dent my car all with one swing. It was almost surreal--so much so that I could never bring myself to fix that dent. I drove around with it for the next ten years, until I finally sold the car. It was a constant reminder of a distressing Shea Stadium moment that was tied inextricably to that jammed thumb on Vince Coleman's drag bunt in the sixth.

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