It's late October, on a cold first base in Minneapolis. Atlanta Braves outfielder Ron Gant, visiting for a few days, has just singled to left field. He is sprinting toward first base. What follows is a transcript of a conversation between Gant and the man on first, Twins player Kent Hrbek.

Hrbek: Hello.
Gant: Hi Kent.
Hrbek: Nice shot, there.
Gant: What, the hit?
Hrbek: Yeah, it was a nice hit. You got a hit in the World Series, man, can't get better than that.
Gant: Nope, it's a pretty good feeling.
Hrbek: I guess if you got a Grand Slam, that'd be better.
Gant: Well, obviously a Grand Slam would be better. Do you think I should try for second?
Hrbek: I mean, a grand slam, that's the greatest play in sports, a whole team resting on the mammoth shoulders of a single bat, oh damn it, Gladden, you blacksock bastard, learn to throw! Yeah, I think second might be a safe bet, but on a single bat, trusting this one player to salvage a team's season as it teeters on the brink of elimination, elimination from the World Series, an elimination you never really recover from.
Gant: (uncomfortable, cautious, suspicious of Hrbek's advice but still rounding first on the overthrow) Yeah, that would be pretty big, I'd imagine.
Hrbek: It was.
Gant: (slows slightly to respond to Hrbek) Oh, you're talking about yourself again? Man, I knew it. It's the same story, every time somebody passes first base, they have to hear about the grand slam. Everyone in the league has heard your story by now, we get it. Yeah, good job, that's cool, lay off. It's been what, four years now? And this isn't a knock against you, either, I like you, so does everybody else. You're like a teddy bear out here. And I'm not against first base banter, either, but mix it up, give me some tips or let's talk about somebody out here who sucks. Like, Gaetti, that guy seems like a real jerk. Or Tapani, damn, nice throw! (Gant heads back toward first base)
Hrbek: (cold silence)
Gant: Don't be mad at me. I'm going to have to spend some time on this bag with you. Dude, I'm not the first one to say something, am I? Oh God. I'm sorry. I thought somebody had said something before. Well, let me tell you, these guys just don't have the guts to say it to your face, and that's messed up. But it's probably a testament to your reputation as a competitor man, you're a real scary dude out here.
Hrbek: (sniffle)
Gant: I'm sorry. Man, come here. Give me a hug, this is some nonsense.
Hrbek reaches over to hug Gant in a gesture of friendship. An odd angle, perhaps forced by Gant's momentum, surprises both of them and they topple off the base.
Umpire: You're out!
Gant: What! No! What! Out! UNCOOL! Oh, man, I can't believe this! UNCOOL!

1 comment:

The Grza said...

This is part meditation on the universal stories that surround us day to day, and part historical recollection. But right now, really, all it can be is a string of printed words, fonted and formatted, dead; empty; waiting; sitting; biding time. So what can be done? Do we let it sit?

Or do we shoot this motherfucker.

I call casting (call). An obese, ruddy cheeked first basemen. A wiry Texan having the best year of his life. A nameless, faceless umpire, sweating under the hot lights of a domed swastika, waiting for his chance to make a difference for his hometown twinkies.

Oh God, he's hidden his past for so long...