by Andrew W
A batter's last game
|It is the bottom of the ninth, a tie game, and the leadoff hitter comes up to the plate. Last game of his career and so far, he is 0-3, a strikeout and two fly outs. The batter digs his shoes in the dirt. He looks at the pitcher as he takes his practice swings. Then, he pulls his bat back and waits for the pitch.
He stands there patiently as the pitcher reads the catcher until he shakes his head yes. The Pitcher stands ready. Goes through his motions and throws a fastball low…ball one. The next pitch is a curveball and the batter also takes this one…ball two. The batter digs his cleats deeper in the dirt. Third pitch, the batter tries to track it and goes for it. Swing and a miss…strike one.
The batter collects himself and shakes it off. He thinks to himself; I am still ahead of the count. I can win this battle. He realigns himself and waits. The pitcher delivers the fourth pitch, a sinker, and the batter gets called for a looking strike. With the count now at two and two, the batter releases a deep sigh.
The fifth pitch is just a little bit on the outside, the batter decides to chases it, and he gets a foul to the right. Should have let that one go, he thought. The next pitch looks good and the batter swings hard. Hooked it to the left and the batter calls for time. He knocks some dirt off his shoes. When done, the batter gets ready for the next pitch.
His old sore hands are sweating in his gloves. The pitcher delivers his seventh pitch and the batter goes for it. He hits it hard up the middle and runs as fast as he can. It is a base hit. The batter looks around as the crowd continues to cheer.
The manager calls for time. He sends someone out; a pinch-runner. The batter waits for the runner to come before he walks off. When the runner shows up to the first base, he sticks his hand out for a handshake. After that, they hug, and the runner gives the batter a pat on the back.
The crowd continues to cheer as their franchise hit leader walks off the field. He stops halfway and looks up at the screen to see his career stats. Some tears run down from his eyes. He continues to walk to the dugout.
Once down in the dugout, he finds a spot to sit. After the players in the dugout congratulate him, they go back to watching the game. He does not. He just leans forward and looks down at his shoes. All the dirt on it is a reflection of him. He thinks about some moments in his career, and how grateful he was to be a part of such a great sport.
At one point he hears the sound of the ball being hit by the bat. Followed by the sound of the crowd cheering loudly. He thinks to himself; I am going to miss this.