The Best Dang Baseball Game, Ever
G David Schwartz
We lost ten to one, but it was the best dang baseball game I have ever attended. The sun was about one hundred and ten degrees in the shade, I ate too many hot dogs with too much relish, and I have never had a better time in my life.
Schofield was finally off the injured list. Man, I wanted to see that game more than anything. The only problem was that I had to finish that boring Greenwood report before I had any time to myself.
"Have anything planned for tonight?" Martin said as he stuck his head in my cubicle.
"Greenwood," I said hopelessly, indicating the pile of papers stacked randomly on my desk.
"Good!" he replied with venomous delight.
I was convinced Greenwood would have waited a week or two for the report, but Martin thought expediency, whatever that was, required we have the papers ready bright and early Monday morning. A few days’ advance notice would have been nice, but somebody, and I won't mention any names, goldbricked until the last minute, then promised all the glory for himself. He knew some lug would do all the sweat work for him.
That lug would be me.
The day could not have begun worse. First, the coffee machine failed to work, so as a joke, Slater sent me to Xerox a picture of a coffee for McGruter. It was bad enough when the Xerox began spitting copies out of control, but Martin entered at the most inconvenient moment. I really didn't think he would deduct the cost of the machine from my paycheck, still, for a guy like that, the threat was more important than the execution.
I shouldn't use the word “execution.”
Then Myrtle went home sick, leaving me with no one who could work the word processor to make sense of the papers I was going through. Not that it mattered; the office’s fancy Oriental brass tree fell and severed the cords connecting the machine to the electrical outlet. No one could afford to lend me their word processor so it took me most of the afternoon to run down the old-fashioned typewriter. Not that it mattered, because the keys had rusted shut.
You can imagine my surprise when things suddenly began going right. Benson had to leave to meet his wife at the emergency room. This freed up not only his word processor but his secretary as well, which is when I learned that people could type more than twenty-three words per minute. Cynthia finished the report as quickly as I could edit the pages. We were done, miracle of miracles, before normal quitting time.
Martin stuck his head in the door a second time just before five o'clock as I was locking my desk.
"How's it going?"
"Fine," I said. "The Greenwood report is all finished and being delivered to your desk as we speak."
I had emphasized the words “your desk” because I thought his furniture would have more insight on the document than him.
"Good," he said with a grim sneer, "that means you can join the rest of us at the game."
Yes, sir. That was the greatest day of my life. An inside pitch blasted Schofield's elbow and sent him wincing to the ground. He had to be carried from the field on a stretcher. Vince Brady, left fielder for the visiting team, had hit a home run, a triple, a grand slam, and two doubles his first five appearances at bat. The beer was flat and warm, the brats and Mets were cold. Large yellow stains formed on my favorite shirt, and I had to sit next to Martin.
Neither of us wanted to be seated next to one another, but that was the way the boys shuffled and juggled to the reserved seats next to third base. Ironically, Slater, McGruter, Sanders, Crawfield, and the others were trying to jockey as close to Martin as they were able. Martin was jostled and bumped as we walked down the narrow steps. Finally, he was spun into me during my attempt to evade him. We were shoved in the aisle and plopped down next to one another.
Between pitches, Martin made quite a few rather rude comments about my current and previous projects. Apparently, he was oblivious to the terrible taste of the beer because it did nothing to slow him down. He never really said anything about my ability, which rightfully he could only have applauded. Instead, he spoke about the stupidity of the assignments, attempting to imply guilt by association. This struck me as asinine, seeing as he was the man who made the assignments.
Between the innings, and while the other team batted, Martin simply pulverized me. I soon figured out that this was the best time to visit the concession stand. By the ninth inning I was green with nausea, red with rage, purple with anxiety, orange with dullness, and blue with emotions. That was when certain events began to transpire.
Vince Brady was coming to bat. Bennington's first pitch was fouled way back over our heads.
Martin turned to me and said, "That's how far our noses will be in the air if your Greenwood report ends up being stinko."
I responded with a humph.
Bennington went into his stance, wound up, and threw a pitch, which was fouled a mile and a half to our right.
"That's how far out the door you will be if you screwed up that report."
I ignored him.
Bennington eyed Brady. He went into motion, throwing a fastball. Brady swung late and the ball popped high into the air.
"That's how high you will be booted if . . ."
The ball came down right on Martin's head.
That was the greatest day in the history of the universe.